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WorldVia Travel Group Edifies, Celebrates Travel Professionals at WORLD23

Oct. 3, 2023 Atlanta – WorldVia Travel Group, one of the leading travel host agencies in the United States, recently hosted the highly attended WORLD23 event, the company’s annual, premier conference for members of Travel Quest Network. The conference took place at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, September 8-10, 2023, drawing hundreds of travel professionals from around the United States for an action-packed, three-day event filled with inspiring networking opportunities, learning sessions and award celebrations.

Travel Quest Network members attending the event benefited from connecting with leading travel advisors and supplier partners in the industry, learning from pioneers and experts in various business specializations, and forging meaningful relationships with travel industry peers.

This year’s conference was thoughtfully designed to connect travel agency owners’ passions to earned profits, with educational content focusing on three key areas: product education from supplier partners; peer networking through structured and unstructured panel discussions; and business education, such as group sales, niche selections, marketing tips and more.

The WORLD23 educational opportunities comprised four programming categories, including general sessions, business education breakout sessions, member panel discussions and supplier breakout sessions. Attendees gained insights for strategically selecting the right areas of specialization for their agencies, tips on driving sales and profit growth through luxury and group sales, and strategies and tactics for increasing sales efficiency and effectiveness.

Travel Quest Network agency owners led educational sessions at this year’s conference. These sessions included: “Luxury Travel,” led by Amanda Kelly, owner of Live Well Travel; “Group Travel,” presented by Jeff Bartlett, owner of Travel Marks; and “Rapid Growth,” directed by Alan Granza, owner of ExtravaGranza Travel.

Business education breakout sessions were provided by WorldVia Travel Group staff members. Two highlights from this programming category included, “Analyzing Your Passion: Using Data to Determine, Refine or Redefine Your Niche,” which was led by WorldVia Travel Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Jason Block; and “Pursuing A New Passion: Refocusing or Rebranding Your Business,” presented by Joshua Harrell, the company’s Chief Revenue Officer.

Several other business education sessions covered topics, such as “Projecting Your Passion: Designing a Marketing Campaign Around Your Niche,” “Making Their Passion Your Profit: Selling Groups with a Pied Piper,” and “Completing Your Passion Project: How to Prepare Your Exit Plan as an Agency Owner.”

Other WORLD23 learning opportunities included panel discussions led by host agency members. One featured panel was, “Did You Love Your Trip? Play It Forward and Take a Group with You!” The discussion was facilitated by Harrell and Velma Tollison, the company’s Growth Manager. Panelists included Kara Brown of Experience Culture Travel, Stephanie Ellis with Travel Girl Group, and Rebecca Anderson of Wanderland Escapes. Another invaluable panel discussion was “Luxury Travel, Like Gelato, Comes in Many Flavors,” with panelists Nick Salmen of Remarkable Journeys, Bobby Laurie of The Jet Set, and Linda Berens of Worry Free Getaways.

Agency owners and travel advisors also had many opportunities to interact and engage with host agency corporate partners by attending the 24 supplier breakout sessions that took place throughout the event. These sessions fostered a collaborative atmosphere for members and suppliers through knowledge-sharing and professional development opportunities designed to help members grow professionally.

“WORLD23 offers our network an opportunity to make deep, meaningful connections between members, suppliers and team members, as well as the chance to celebrate the achieved successes of our vast network and its many active members,” said Jason Block, Chief Executive Officer of WorldVia Travel Group. “Positive networking connections and invaluable industry insights resonated among our agent members, attendees, supplier sponsors and speakers who were part of the event.”

WORLD23 event sponsors comprised a long list of partner suppliers categorized into numerous sponsorship tiers. One particularly noteworthy supplier was Allianz Partners, a Platinum-level Sponsor of the event. Gold Sponsors included Royal Caribbean International, ALG Vacations, Sandals & Beaches and Celebrity Cruises. A slew of suppliers made up the remaining three sponsorship tiers: Titanium, Silver and Bronze. WORLD23 success is owed to all sponsoring suppliers whose generous contributions enriched the educational content, provided invaluable resources and elevated the overall experience for event attendees.

WORLD23 presented many resourceful industry updates and insights on the latest tools, programs and product innovations for Travel Quest Network members. Three noteworthy announcements included the introduction of the multi-day Accelerator in-person course set to take place December 4-8, 2023, in Atlanta; the host agency’s new, first-of-its-kind Marketing Immersion course; and a new technology features release from WorldVia PRO, the business-management tech platform for host agency members.

“The WorldVia PRO new-features release took place September 20, 2023, and included impressive, cost-free features, such as Site Builder, CRM Trips Upgrade and Web Proposals,” said, Block. “Travel Quest Network members and industry members can expect further announcements about WorldVia PRO’s tech features and benefits in the months to follow.”

Other announcements included the release of Advisor Showcase on WorldVia.com, which is WorldVia Travel Group’s consumer travel website, and the introduction of the network’s new Luxe Program, which will focus on the growth of luxury travel sales.

The conference event also included the prestigious Questy Awards Dinner, honoring travel agencies and professionals around the United States that demonstrated remarkable growth and achievement during the past year. The 2023 Questy Awards Ceremony marked the awards program’s third year. Award winners were honored in recognition of their business successes and reliability to current and prospective customers.

Membered travel agency owners and advisors had the opportunity to nominate themselves or others for the awards program before July 10, 2023. A committee of long-standing travel industry leaders working with WorldVia Travel Group carefully reviewed and evaluated all nominations to select this year’s winners across nearly a dozen categories.

The 2023 award recipients were honored at the Questy Awards Dinner in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Grand Ballroom the evening of September 9. To learn more about the 2023 Questy Awards, visit www.travelquestnetwork.com/questy-awards.

Those interested in attending WORLD24, to be held September 11-13, 2024, at the Harrah’s Resort in Funner, California, can learn more about the event at www.travelquestnetwork.com/world.

2023 Questy Award Winners

Alan Granza with ExtravaGranza Travel in Burlington, North Carolina, was a distinguished winner at this year’s ceremony, taking home the top overall award, “Monarch Agency of the Year,” which celebrates the agency with the highest score in the awards scoring process.

The Golden Crown Award bestows recognition to the agency with the top sales performance in two categories, “Multi-Advisory Agency Golden Crown,” which was awarded to Michael Belmont, owner of The Park Prodigy in Staten Island, New York; and “Single-Advisory Agency Golden Crown,” given to Alan Granza of ExtravaGranza Travel. Eighteen travel advisors who exhibited outstanding sales performance took home the “Crown Sales Achievement Award,” including Rebecca Landry, Wendy LaPorte and Val Schafer.

John Brawley with Premier Travel Service in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was celebrated with this year’s “Dynasty Award” by virtue of his agency’s long-time commitment to excellence and its support of Travel Quest Network. The “Sales Innovation Award,” which recognizes a particular travel advisor who has demonstrated outstanding creativity, ingenuity and effectiveness in improving sales processes, strategies and results, was bestowed to Bobby Laurie with Jet Set Go.

The Monarch Awards” celebrate outstanding agency excellence, including sales performance and growth, support of the network, use of Travel Quest Network products and programs, and a helping spirit within the community of travel entrepreneurs. Select 2023 Monarch Award winners are Heidi Bocianowski with Astonishing Travel, Linda Berens of Worry Free Getaways, and Tyson Wharton with Sioux Empire Travel. Multiple other agency owners exhibiting exemplary prowess in this award category were also honored with Monarch Awards.

Six travel advisors were bestowed with the “Ascension Growth Award” out of recognition for their exceptional sales growth. Award winners in this category included Jim Campbell, Jody Jones, Sherri Riggs, Alan Granza Sarah Kanter and Michael Belmont.

The “Local Community Leadership Award,” a new award category introduced at the 2023 Questy Awards Dinner, was given to Tyson Wharton of Sioux Empire Travel for his leadership involvement in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Another new 2023 award was the “Network Community Steward Award,” which celebrated Ann Ruhman’s frequent, helpful and positive contributions to Travel Quest Network’s members-only private Facebook group.

This year’s “Marketing Awards” recognized outstanding leadership in three areas of travel marketing: “Best Website,” awarded to Ariana Crabtree; “Best Email Newsletter” given to Kara Brown; and “Best Social Media Presence,” presented to Alisa Myatt.

 

About WorldVia Travel Group: WorldVia Travel Group is a creative assemblage of professional travel brands and resources designed with a spirited and longstanding commitment to delivering unmatched services, assets and support to its members, clients and partners – including independent travel agent and advisor entrepreneurs, corporate partners and humanitarian organizations – through the company’s two primary divisions: WorldVia, which operates the Travel Quest Network host agency, and the consumer travel website, worldvia.com. WorldVia Travel Group’s mission involves simplifying and streamlining travel agency owners’ and travel advisors’ business management practices as well as empowering them to build and cultivate the travel businesses of their dreams. Learn more: www.worldvia.com and www.travelquestnetwork.com.