Ensemble Horizons Conference Focuses On Community, Connection, Social Impact
During Ensemble’s recently concluded Horizons conference, the focus was on the future defined by human expertise and experience and ways to leverage technology, data and programming to help members grow their businesses amidst evolving challenges.
Level Up was the theme of the conference and in speaking to the more than 800 owners, managers, and advisors as well as preferred partners– the first time the entire consortium has been together since an acquisition and overhaul of the brand –Michael Johnson, President of Ensemble, opened the conference at Paris Las Vegas by sharing four fundamentals that represent the foundation of Ensemble.
Chief among them is a core principle that people make travel better.
Addressing the threat of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Johnson stated that the time advisors put into their craft from developing their expertise to building relationships with partners and clients is the most valuable and something technology cannot replicate.
Said Johnson: “The craft is the advisor’s advantage — the combination of art and science, expertise and empathy, that turns a trip into an experience and is the magic that allows travellers to collect memories instead of souvenirs.”
Building on that is the second fundamental that connections matter,
Johnson emphasized that while other consortia often refer to themselves as the glue, he views Ensemble as an active connection.
He pointed out that: “Rather than merely sit in the middle, we are a real-life example of an information highway connecting buyers with sellers, connecting agencies with solutions and partners with sales driving opportunities.”
The third core principle is that agencies require business partners rather than mere affiliations.
Ensemble’s president emphasized that Ensemble’s role is to facilitate, but it’s the advisor who truly makes the magic happen. He also highlighted a key distinction between Ensemble and other consortia – a deliberate choice to prioritize the members and their business.
He explained: “Our primary role is to support our members, standing behind them in a deliberate and quietly effective manner – they are the ones who have spent years building their businesses and nurturing client relationships.”
In line with this philosophy, Ensemble focuses on providing customizable tools and resources that empower the advisor to take the forefront – not Ensemble itself – offering features like white-label itineraries and customizable marketing options.
Ensemble’s SVP of Operations, Kristina Boyce talked about the tactical aspects of Ensemble’s growth strategy.
Speaking from her own experience, Boyce addressed how fear can often inhibit or paralyze people from doing things that lead to growth and how the antidote is knowledge and information – which is exactly what Ensemble provides.
Said Boyce: “I see our role at Ensemble as being in service to the travel professional by providing not just knowledge, but practical solutions for you to obtain that knowledge, and put it in action.”
And she continued: “We are doing that by delivering access to all of Ensemble’s preferred partner information, member marketing tools, updated travel information and exclusive promotions on the new Member Portal; learning through all of the new training and educational programs; tools such as the ADX platform that makes booking travel easy and seamless while also offering opportunities for higher yield and increased commissions; and depth to “level up” across all areas.”
Boyce also pointed to Ensemble’s focus on creating tools that build efficiency and productivity.
Among them are the newly revamped Universe of Ensemble, the learning management system that includes all training and development programs and ClientSites a tool that enables members to build a fully customizable site that highlights their knowledge and expertise paired with Ensemble’s partner and marketing features to seamlessly add new content. Coming in 2024 is a new Member Portal that will serve as the central source for everything from partner information to data analytics and reporting.
Attendees also participated in several partnership networking sessions as well as several professional development breakouts with topics such as leveraging social media to grow your business, ADX labs, and how to build your own packages.
In the opening session, Johnson also spoke about a fourth fundamental – that Ensemble can also be a force for good by contributing positively to society. In fact, Ensemble has a long history of working with organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and now as part of Navigatr Group through its myriad relationships with organizations that support the environment, those impacted by war and many others.
In keeping with that ethos to make a positive impact, Ensemble is launching a new giving platform called Spark.
Through this program, members can choose from over 2 million charitable causes to support. In addition, Ensemble announced a one-to-one matching program with an initial group of nine charities including Doctors Without Borders, World Central Kitchen, Make-a-Wish Foundation and others. Each agency will have its own dedicated page where they can choose from a range of activities to participate in, create their own branded giving campaigns, and show their support for these organizations.
Go to https://ensembletravel.com/ for more.