Oasis Travel Network Awarded ‘Travel Weekly’ 2021 Gold Magellan Award for Overall Virtual Experience and Events
OASIS Travel Network is pleased to share that we’ve been recognized as a Travel Weekly Magellan Awards Gold Winner for Individual Travel Advisor - Overall-Virtual Experiences/Events. The honor comes as a result of our steadfast commitment to providing high-quality virtual events that spurred continued connection and advisor growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the year, OTN hosted approximately 29 live virtual events, nine of which included three new event formats. The virtual events are among the many educational opportunities we regularly make available for our members, with the most recent example being a Member Appreciation Amadeus River Cruise in Germany that offers members a chance to mingle with OTN staff, suppliers, and other advisors. “We’re honored to be recognized for our efforts in this space and want nothing more than to see our travel advisor members grow and succeed,” said Lee Smolinski, Chairman and CEO of OASIS Travel Network. “We know how absolutely crucial it is to offer frequent, high-quality programming that provides our members with the knowledge they seek, the connections they crave and the opportunities for growth necessary for moving the industry forward to a brighter future.” With entries from across the U.S. and around the world, the Magellan Award winners represent the best in the travel industry and salute the outstanding travel professionals behind it all. The awards honor outstanding design, marketing and services in a broad range of industry segments including Hospitality, Travel Destinations, Cruise Lines, Online Travel Services, Airlines and Airports, Travel Agents and [...]
Oasis Travel Network Named Host Agency of the Year by ASTA for the Second Consecutive Year
OASIS Travel Network is delighted to share that we’ve been named Host Agency of Year for 2021 by the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)! The annual awards given by ASTA—which is celebrating 90 years as the premier trade organization for travel advisors—seek to promote excellence in the travel trade, recognizing individuals and organizations who make lasting contributions to the travel industry. The honor of being named Host Agency of the Year by ASTA is one we’re celebrating for the second year in a row, having also earned the same recognition in 2020—travel’s most challenging year. “Being chosen as ASTA’s Host Agency of the Year for the second time in two years is an accolade we’re absolutely thrilled to accept,” said Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS Travel Network. “ASTA is a large component of OASIS being able to provide our members with the resources and tools needed to be successful, especially as we move confidently forward toward recovery in the industry.” ASTA presents nearly 50 awards every year, focusing on suppliers, members and more. Winners are chosen by ASTA members and are traditionally presented with their award at ASTA’s annual Global Convention. The Host Agency of the Year Award falls within the Membership Awards category, which recognizes ASTA’s outstanding members who have devoted their time and passion to advance the industry, in addition to showcasing their commitment to keeping the travel industry strong. The gathering also saw the first ASTA Board of Directors meeting since Bergin and Kareem George, [...]
Kelly Bergin and Kareem George Elected to ASTA Board of Directors
We’re beyond pleased to share Kelly Bergin, President of OTN, and Kareem George, Principal at Culture Traveler, LLC and OTN member, have been elected to serve as Directors-at-Large on the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) Board of Directors! Their two-year terms will officially begin at the close of ASTA’s Global Convention in Chicago in August. Among the new faces being welcomed to the ASTA Board of Directors, Bergin and George will join three newly elected Directors-at-Large and six returning Board Members, including Eddie Woodham of Palm Coast Travel, who is also an OTN member. “I am so excited that Kelly and Kareem will be joining me on the ASTA Board of Directors,” Woodham said. “I've worked with them both through OASIS Travel Network for many years and look forward to sharing time with them as fellow ASTA board members.” Bergin understands firsthand the challenges travel advisors and agency owners face. “I bring experience and perspective which will help me promote and advance the needs of independent travel agencies and professionals,” said Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS Travel Network. “I’m thrilled to be joining ASTA’s Board of Directors because I want to give back to the industry that has been so good to me and to the people that have made my journey possible. I’m ready to get to work and further expand my involvement and advocacy in the industry.” In addition to serving on several advisory boards and councils, Bergin’s more than 30 years of experience selling and [...]
Cheers To Our In-Person ‘CHAIRMAN’S CLUB’ Top Travel Producer’s Trip
Recently, we were fortunate to be able to host our first in-person “Chairman’s Club” Top Producer’s Trip since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The successful gathering took place from June 5 – June 8 at the Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya Resort along the famed white-sand beaches in the heart of Riviera Maya. Our Chairman’s Club uses a points-based system to establish, recognize and rank its top performing members. Members earn points by selling OTN’s preferred suppliers, with the top point earners for the year becoming eligible for OTN’s luxurious and complimentary bonus Chairman’s Club recognition trip. “When another planned Europe trip was cancelled, our amazing partner—American Airlines—stepped up!” said Lee Smolinski, CEO of OASIS Travel Network. “They partnered with AMResorts as major sponsors to host the 2020 award winners.” The trip was an opportunity to celebrate the successes of our Chairman’s Club advisors and the challenges they were able to overcome during an undoubtedly difficult 2020. “Our top producers had a chance to connect with their colleagues, as well as develop business plans with our supplier partners, which was just the boost they all needed,” said Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS Travel Network. “Our partners—AAV, AMResorts, Chubb Insurance, TTC (Trafalgar, Brendan, Costsaver, Contiki, etc.), and Virgin Voyages—helped make this a very special Chairman's Club Trip.” John Diorio, Associate Vice President – North American Sales, Virgin Voyages, echoed that sentiment. “The OTN Chairman’s Club event in Akumal, Mexico was a wonderful opportunity to engage and build strong relationships with [...]
New Talent Joining the Travel Industry and OTN Community
Despite the pandemic, we’re thrilled that we’ve seen an increase in professionals joining our New2Travel boot camp—training that’s perfectly suited for those looking to gain the education, insight, network and know-how to successfully enter the travel industry. An overall love for travel, trying new things, appreciating different cultures and helping others do the same are common factors cited by those making the career jump. “I’ve been a hotel manager for about 20 years, raised a family, and fulfilled my ‘career goals’ in the corporate structure—in essence, I’ve been working my whole life to make someone else rich and successful,” said Carol Domme of Avid Wanderer. “Now that I’m getting close to retirement, I feel it’s the ideal time for me to be rich and successful. I was bitten by the travel bug long ago and I love to see happy satisfied customers. Travel planning is something I already know, so I felt it would be a great time to put my energy and passion into something to help myself and to cultivate my own satisfied customers.” With industry newcomers coming from a wide variety of past experiences and careers—plenty of which required additional higher education or training—many are bringing specialized skills to their work, helping them to serve clients in elevated and highly specific ways. “I have been in Healthcare Finance and IT Project Management for over 20 years, so planning and organizing how to get things done for others for a particular amount of money within a certain [...]
Notable Travel Sales Increases for Travel Advisors in First Quarter of 2021
We’re pleased to share some exciting first-quarter numbers and encouraging news related to the uptick in travelers beginning to plan and book future travel! Sales wise, 2019 was OTN’s best year ever, making it even more impressive to see sales in 2021 beginning to exceed those benchmarks. “Sales in March of 2021 were 20% above sales reported during March of 2019,” said Lee Smolinski, CEO of OASIS Travel Network, adding that on April 1, 2021, the agency doubled what was reported on that same day in 2019. “We’re also up 533% with one of our preferred river cruise partners from the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2021. We are seeing these types of increases across the board. People are excited to be planning vacations again!” According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, 88% of them now have travel plans in the next six months, the highest level in more than a year. In response to this increase in planning, some of our members have shared the trends they’re seeing when it comes to the types of trips their clients are seeking. “We are getting very serious inquires for bucket list type trips for 2022, including Mediterranean cruises, river cruises, and expedition type cruises,” said Nancy Scorby, Travel Advisor and Owner of Scorby Travel. “Clients are also interested in going back to Italy—always a popular destination with our clients!” Ultimately, travelers are looking to advisors to provide knowledge on where they can realistically venture to [...]
OTN Members Named Top Travel Specialists by Condé Nast Traveler
We’re proud to share five of our members have been recognized among the top travel specialists for 2021 by Condé Nast Traveler! Those selected are chosen by the publication’s editors, who sorted through and evaluated thousands of qualified travel professionals worldwide to pinpoint the leaders in the field. OTN members who were selected are: Laurel Brunvoll of Unforgettable Trips; Sheila Cannon of Carefree Romantic Vacations, Inc.; Lauren Cardinale, CTA of Travel Design Co.; Debbi Claxton, CTA of Luxury Travel By Debbi, LLC; and Shelly Riedemann of Castaway Dream Travel. Claxton said because she has a high-end luxury clientele base—many of whom subscribe to Condé Nast Traveler—she knew recognition from the publication would be well perceived and highly respected. “My clients love seeing me thrive and succeed and be recognized for my efforts,” said Claxton, whose specialty is the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Italy, Greece and Hawaii. “I’m always thinking of ways to take my clients' experience to a different, higher level and offering and executing ideas they wouldn't think of themselves. No matter what they do or where they go, I want them to come back exclaiming, ‘that was the BEST’ or ‘I had the time of my life!’” Cannon applied to be recognized because she wanted to start 2021 off with something motivating that would energize her about helping her clients travel the world in a big way. “This did the trick!” said Cannon, whose specialty is Tahiti, Fiji and Switzerland. “I strive to make my client [...]
Announcing Oasis Travel Network In-person 2021 Conference
We’re proud to announce our 2021 Annual Conference will take place November 8-9, 2021 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada! The event will be the first in-person OTN conference since the pandemic began in March 2020. In consideration of members travel needs and schedules, this event is purposefully co-located with Signature Travel Network’s Annual Conference, which is taking place at the same location immediately following. “We wanted to announce these dates early so our members could have ample time and flexibility to budget and plan accordingly,” explained Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS Travel Network. “Co-locating the event with Signature Travel Network’s conference was an easy way for us to ensure members could get the most training options possible. We’re thrilled be able to offer something to look forward to!” The event will include plenty of opportunities for our OTN members to not only network with each other and supplier representatives, but also discover new products as well as gain additional education through lightning rounds, breakout sessions, tradeshow and more. Response to the announcement of an in-person conference from you all has been positive, with 75.7% of surveyed members indicating they prefer an in-person conference for 2021, and only 13.6% saying they wouldn’t be attending. Training, networking and seeing other OTN friends rank among the highest reasons for planned attendance. More details and registration will be made available in the near future. We’re excited to see you there!
OTN Awarded ‘Travel Weekly’ 2020 Silver Magellan Award
We’re so honored to have received the news that OTN has been recognized as the Travel Weekly 2020 Magellan Awards Silver Winner for Travel Agent Organizations – Overall – Travel Agent Innovation for our “Build-A-Plan” program. The Travel Weekly Magellan Awards honor outstanding design, marketing and services in a broad range of industry segments including Hospitality, Travel Destinations, Cruise Lines, Online Travel Services, Airlines and Airports, Travel Agents and Agencies, Tour Operators and Ground Transportation. We’ve been recognized by Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards in the past, receiving Silver Awards for our New2Travel program and our Diamond Plan. “We feel truly privileged to be once again named among the best of the best within the industry,” said Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS Travel Network. “Receiving an accolade such as this during what has been an undoubtedly challenging year is an incredible honor and motivator to continue to help members within our network adapt and thrive.” The Magellan Awards are judged and overseen by a one-of-a-kind panel of top travel professionals representing the best names and most accomplished leaders from the industry. In determining winners, entries do not compete with one another, instead they are judged against a standard of excellence based on the long experience of Travel Weekly. To uphold this high standard of excellence, a category may have multiple winners, or may have no winners at all. “Magellan winners are those in the industry who communicate travel’s promise, through words, images and design, in ways that ring true and [...]
Our New2Travel Program Is Now Virtual!
Have you heard the news? We’ve replaced our New2Travel in-person training with a virtual boot camp, which is perfectly suited for those looking to gain the education, insight, network and know-how to successfully enter the travel industry. This virtual program seeks to meet the continued high interest in new agent training during the pandemic, as recently reported by The Travel Institute. “We know how important our in-person boot camp has been in the past to help new-to-the-industry advisors get started and we wanted to replicate, as best we could, that experience,” said Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS Travel Network. “The value New2Travel continues to provide members is vast, from learning to build and market your own travel brand to gaining the confidence to offer your clients the best up-to-date industry information—the potential remains tremendous.” This Travel Weekly Magellan Award-winning program guides you through the steps to launching their own travel career and includes destination specialist certifications, Cruise Line International Association training, in addition to becoming a Signature Travel Expert with courses in sales, marketing and ethics. BONUS: The opportunity to book travel and earn commission while training is also available. After completion of the program, you’ll receive a customized website, an email and print marketing program, and an itinerary app to help communicate with and present to clients. An additional benefit of completing the New2Travel program is a complimentary membership to the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Several members who recently completed the program note they felt presentations [...]
We’ve Been Named ASTA Host Agency of the Year!
2020 has certainly been a challenging year, with countless ups and downs. Which is why Oasis Travel Network is especially thrilled to have been named Host Agency of Year for 2020 by the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). The annual awards given by ASTA, the world’s largest association of travel professionals, seek to promote excellence in the travel trade, recognizing individuals and organizations who make lasting contributions to the travel industry. “We couldn’t be more honored to be recognized by ASTA in this way, especially during the most difficult year the industry has seen in memory,” said Kelly Bergin, President of OASIS Travel Network. “Our goal is to always provide our members with the resources and tools to be successful, and ASTA is a large component of that. Being chosen as their Host Agency of the Year is an accolade we’re thrilled to accept.” ASTA presents nearly 50 awards every year, focusing on suppliers, members and more. Winners are chosen by ASTA members and are traditionally presented with their award at ASTA’s annual Global Convention. The Host Agency of the Year Award falls within the Membership Awards category, which recognizes ASTA’s outstanding members who have devoted their time and passion to advance the industry, in addition to showcasing their commitment to keeping the travel industry strong. Our relationship with ASTA is further demonstrated through the recent creation of our membership deal, resulting in all of OTN’s more than 800 members becoming members of ASTA. The partnership allows OTN [...]
New Websites for OTN Travel Advisor Members Launched
Here at OASIS Travel Network, we’re proud to announce the development and introduction of new contemporary websites for our OTN Travel Advisor Members. These customizable and user-friendly sites cater to client needs and offer pleasant and effortless travel booking experiences. “We felt it was important to invest in new technology and provide our travel advisor members with the opportunity to seamlessly and effectively serve their existing client base and source for potential new clients,” said Lee Smolinski, Chairman & CEO of OASIS Travel Network. “Our new websites offer travel advisors options that are customizable, content-rich, branded to their business with secure booking engines and affordable.” The website set-up, design, and rich content of destinations, promotions, live booking engines and more is complimentary. Hosting and an SSL certificate is a modest annual cost of $348—only $29 a month. “Another key feature is that our members have access to make their own changes and updates on their sites. Instead of depending on someone to make small updates with costs involved, they have the freedom to update as needed,” Smolinski said. “Advisors can change the branding, colors, fonts, photos, and add pages, for example. Because the system is incredibly user-friendly, any of our members can easily personalize these websites, suited to their timeline and business needs.” Customization options abound. Among the many attractive features the sites offer, are options to add specialty travel microsites, global destination guides, a media gallery for personalized photos and videos, custom promotional offers, a link to a [...]