Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

Last week, I wrote about a handful of Signature Travel Network advisors who decided to try something different with their businesses that's worked out well.

It might have been expanding to new destinations, focusing on a primary supplier or bringing in new advisors to find clients for custom group trips; all were ways the agency owners had rejuvenated their businesses and sparked growth.

This week, I bring the rest of the advisors highlighted by Signature executive vice president Ignacio Maza onstage during the network's recent Owners' Meeting.

Julie Steinberg, Rosenbluth Vacations, Cherry Hill, N.J.: Steinberg has been in business for more than 30 years. Maza said she's a great example of trying a different product. Steinberg recently sailed with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. "Guess what?" Maza said. "Her Regent business went through the roof." She gained valuable insights about the brand, the kind of details that are best recognized by experiencing the product.

Sally Jane Smith, TravelSmiths, Point Pleasant, N.J.: Smith has excelled at finding the supplier who is the right fit for her agency and clients. "Not everything is going to fit perfectly," Maza said, but for Smith, the perfect product is Classic Vacations. She has been recognized as one of Classic's top sellers for FITs and groups and is one of the top 20 sellers of St. Lucia in the U.S. She's also successfully tapped into the power of radio advertising.

Jade Chiarini, CTA Travel, Cerritos, Calif.: "All of you are so busy," Maza said. "I really admire any of you that take the time to really spend quality time with your advisors, especially new people, because if you invest, you will get back so, so, so much." That was the case for CTA president Cathie Fryer, who mentored Chiarini. Chiarini was recently new to the industry, but she trained closely with Fryer. That training, combined with getting out and experiencing products, has put Chiarini on the path to breaking $1.5 million in sales this year.

Ellie Noyes, Acendas Travel, with locations in Mission, Kan., and Eden Prairie, Minn.: Acendas Travel is a new Signature member this year. Noyes has taken advantage of the programs the consortium has to offer. "From the very beginning, whatever it was, the answer was yes," Maza said. She took advantage of the network's marketing opportunities, tools, its customer relationship management system ClientBase, attended its first annual Luxury Summit and more. As a result, Noyes' luxury business is up 37%.

Darl Bachmann, Ford's World Travel, Sun City West, Ariz.: Sometimes agency owners are too busy to invest all the time they could in a facet of their business, Maza said. That was the position Bachmann found himself in, so he decided to hire a marketing manager. That person is responsible for all marketing and promotions as well as working with visiting suppliers. As a result, Ford's luxury sales are up 50% year-over-year. "Did it cost some money to invest in a marketing manager? Yes," Maza said. "Did it take time to train this young lady? Yes. But boy, it is paying off  no question."

Eric Hrubant, CIRE Travel, New York: Hrubant started out in the travel industry over 20 years ago, and in 2013 he went out on his own. He's grown CIRE to 12 advisors today, and he is successfully garnering upscale leisure business from his corporate business. He used a $100,000 bank loan and invested in search engine optimization. "That $100,000 has come back to him many, many times," Maza said. "Sometimes you have to take a leap. You have to take a risk to be successful."

CORRECTION: This report was updated to correct information about Eric Hubrant and CIRE Travel. Hrubant went out on his own in 2013, after more than 20 years in the industry. He received the 100,000 bank loan he used for search engine optimization that same year.

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