WHY IT RATES: The conference outlined the roadmap for Avoya’s future. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Writer
Avoya Travel recently concluded the 2021 Avoya Conference, which took place virtually from December 6–10, 2021. The 2021 Avoya Conference was highlighted by presentations and panels featuring senior-level executives from suppliers spanning the travel industry, including but not limited to Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, AmaWaterways, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Globus family of brands and many more.
A central focus of the event was the recent announcement that Certares has partnered with Avoya to make a strategic growth investment in the Avoya platform, joining Jeff and Michael Anderson as shareholders of Avoya Travel.
Much of the tone for the virtual conference was set by the confidence in the future of Avoya as it enters phase three of the Avoya 2025 plan to become the number one vacation platform, with the Certares investment accelerating the momentum. After celebrating the completion of over 300 key initiatives company-wide in 2020, Avoya announced that it has completed over 700 innovative technological and capability initiatives to date in 2021, with more to be completed before year’s end.
Some enhancements and developments announced at the 2021 Avoya Conference include:
—Customizable and Co-Branded Avoya Marketing Resource Center™ Assets: A new suite of customizable co-branded marketing assets is now available for optional use designed to help increase the potential marketing reach of the Avoya Network, adding a new level of personalization that includes their own agency branding. Nearly 150 new best-in-class marketing assets, featuring social media, videos, trip planning resources, flyers, email templates, and more, allow for even greater flexibility and customization, including the addition of their business logo and the ability to spotlight their agency’s information, all seamlessly integrated into Avoya’s patented CRM technology, Agent Power.
—New Digital Magazine: This next-generation digital magazine will be sent to travelers quarterly to create awareness, drive website traffic, and increase demand. The e-magazine will be designed with traveler engagement in mind, featuring engrossing content and compelling imagery. In addition to destination, experience, and product-specific content, the digital magazine will include exclusive deals from Avoya and supplier advertisements aimed at driving even more sales. Avoya also released the first volume of its “Travel Secrets Guide”, a collaborative effort featuring a compilation of submissions from Independent Agencies, supplier partners, and Avoya staff intimating the best-kept secrets of destinations around the world in the form of a digital flipbook; a co-branded version of the guide will be made available through Avoya’s Marketing Resource Center for the Avoya Network to provide to travelers.
—Enhancements to Patented SaaS Technology, Agent Power: Avoya announced several different enhancements that were recently launched in Agent Power, many of which came as a direct result of suggestions from the Independent Agency Advocacy Board which acts as a conduit for feedback from the Avoya Network. The many developments featured multiple “quality of life” improvements and additional functionality designed to increase efficiencies in administrative processes, streamline day-to-day tasks, and simplify the selling process to help Independent Agencies focus on making new bookings and maintaining customer relationships.
—Announcements of 2022 Events: Avoya announced much of its lineup of events planned for 2022, including a list of never-before-offered event types, many of which will feature small group events by product type to provide more in-depth education and experiences. Highlights of the brand-new events include a New Independent Agency Virtual Event March 15–17, a Hotel Virtual Event July 12–14, and a Luxury Virtual Forum August 16–18. In addition to the new offerings, Avoya will host the extremely popular annual Land Forum as a two-part hybrid event taking place virtually April 12–14 and then in-person the first week of May, as well as the return of the highly regarded Success Academies. Avoya announced the development of new Immersion Academies earlier this year and last week confirmed the various multi-focal events will be hosted in partnership with preferred supplier partners including Windstar Cruises, Oceania Cruises, AMR Collection, Sandals & Beaches Resorts, and more. The most anticipated event of 2022 was also announced as Avoya confirmed the 2022 Avoya Conference will be hosted in partnership with Celebrity Cruises onboard the new Celebrity Beyond from November 8–13.
“Avoya has remained a steadfast partner of Celebrity Cruises throughout the challenging times brought on by the pandemic and we were thrilled to be a sponsor of such a successful event,” said Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales, trade support and service, the Americas at Celebrity Cruises. “The Avoya Network was highly engaged and hungry to help lead the recovery of our great industry. We are excited to host the 2022 Avoya Conference onboard the beautiful Celebrity Beyond where we can once again get together in person to celebrate the Avoya Network’s resiliency and our mutual success.”
As an early preview to the anticipated success for Avoya moving into 2022 and beyond, Avoya shared some very powerful numbers regarding recent booking and departure trends, as well as Net Promoter Survey (NPS) scores. When compared to 2019 levels, Avoya’s strongest year to date, Avoya saw a 30% increase in Upper Premium and Luxury bookings from September 2021 through November 2021 as well as a 196% increase in World Cruise bookings during that same period. Land bookings were up 28% in November, and year-to-date, average booking value is up 30%. Avoya is also currently reporting bookings for departures in the second half of 2022 as well as bookings for all 2022 Europe departures are both up 30% compared to the same time in 2019. Bookings for 2022 river and luxury cruises, escorted tours, and resort departures are up 34% in addition to bookings for 2023 departures being up 144% year over year. NPS scores, a rating of Avoya and the Avoya Network by booked travelers, are at 92, a number dramatically above industry averages as well as the averages of major global corporations.
“The future of Avoya Travel couldn’t be brighter and it was fantastic to get together with the Avoya Network and our supplier partners at the 2021 Avoya Conference to celebrate the extraordinary outlook for Avoya’s opportunities and potential,” said Jeff Anderson, Co-CEO of Avoya Travel. “In collaboration with Certares and their strategic growth investment, our Avoya 2025 plan to become the number one vacation platform is stronger than ever and we were eager to share that positivity with the Avoya Network and our supplier partners. We’re confident that 2022 will be an incredible year for the Avoya platform and our Shared Success Model™.”
The 2021 Avoya Conference also featured a robust agenda of educational and networking opportunities including small group supplier roundtables, “speed-dating” with suppliers and Avoya staff, a virtual tradeshow, and multiple themed cocktail parties for attendees to interact in a more social setting, including the Farewell Cocktail Party celebrating the career of Van Anderson, who recently announced his retirement.
SOURCE: Avoya Travel press release.