A record 500 delegates will head to Monaco this weekend. Lee Hayhurst previews what’s in store

The Travel Network Group will focus on how it has helped its agent members achieve results this weekend at its largest-ever overseas conference.

The Worldchoice and Travel Trust Association (TTA) parent will welcome a record 500 delegates, including 325 agent members and 70 business partners, to the event in Monaco.

Managing director Gary Lewis said speakers have been lined up to fit with the ‘Power of You’ theme chosen to highlight the vital role people have in making their company’s customers happy.

He said delegates would also hear how adopting this approach in head office has been at the heart of its achievements in the 18 months since the last overseas conference.

“We will talk about how we have achieved those results by working on our people and our business and then set out what we are focusing on over the next 18 months,” Lewis said.

“We will be talking membership growth, the number and impact of membership engagements, and the products and services we have delivered over the last 18 months.”

The group has seen some notable new members join since its last conference, including Scotland’s largest agency Barrhead Travel and Midlands-based 10-store independent Millington Travel.

Lewis added: “We never go knocking on anyone’s door, but we’ve taken members from other groups in a way that’s never been done before. It’s not just about financials and commercials, but delivering for our customers by improving the performance of every individual in our business.

“Our conference speakers will tell the same story: how you deliver world-class performance.

“We’ll demonstrate how we do that to help our members drive their performance.”

Lewis said the conference has been as popular among TTA members as Worldchoice, despite the former not holding an event overseas before Worldchoice joined the group in 2008.

Group hails new technology as ‘incredible achievement’

The Travel Network Group will unveil details of new technology that will allow its members to use voice analytics and artificial intelligence to enhance their service to customers.

Gary Lewis, the group’s managing director, said details were being kept confidential until the weekend. But he described it as an “incredible initiative” that “has never before been used at a face-to-face level in shops”, but has been deployed in contact centres in other sectors.

Some members have been trialling it ahead of a rollout in 2018 and Lewis said it would give members vital insight into how they perform based on insight from their customers.

“We will be bringing voice analytics and AI to members to show how they can drive their performance by understanding how they make their customers feel,” he said.

Delegates will also be offered advice in three workshops on digital media, regulatory changes and creating a winning business culture.

The Travel Network Group Conference

Date: November 19-20
Location: Fairmont Monte Carlo
Special guest speakers: Sir Clive Woodward, former England rugby head coach and Rugby World Cup winner; Jo Causon, Institute of Customer Service; Sir Lee Pearson, winner of 11 Paralympic gold medals
Headline sponsors: American Express, Flexible Autos, Holiday Extras, Jet2holidays, Oceania Cruises, Sandals, Premier Holidays, Gold Medal and Travel 2
Gala dinner sponsor: Travelport
Awards: The gala dinner will see 11 Power of You awards handed out to business partners voted for by members. Four agent members will receive awards from head office for their performance.