AUSTIN, Texas -- From hurricane destruction to reports of
tainted alcohol in a destination to diseases, the travel advisor community will
always have hurdles to overcome, but those challenges just help strengthen
That was the message of Signature Travel Network president
and CEO Alex Sharpe on Thursday during the consortium's 2019 Owners' Meeting at
the Fairmont Hotel Austin here.
"We could sit up here and talk about what's wrong, and 'Oh,
woe is us,' and all that kind of stuff," Sharpe said. "What I really
want to focus on is how incredible it is when we have challenges. How it proves
your value to your customer. How it gives us an opportunity to reinforce our
value to you and what you bring to the table."
Sharpe highlighted several recent challenges, like Hurricane
Dorian's destruction and reports of tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic
populating consumer media, and some previous challenges, like reports of
tainted alcohol at resorts in Mexico or the outbreak of Ebola virus. The Trump administration's
rollback of Cuba travel policy was also an issue for advisors and supplier
Looking specifically at the situation in the Dominican
Republic, Sharpe said it "reinforces the value of a travel advisor."
They can tell their personal stories of having been to the
destination many times and speak to the quality of hotel properties. Advisors
can recommend them with confidence, bolstering travel to destinations that are
important to the agency community.
"How do we tell that story?" Sharpe asked. "That's
our opportunity, and when we do that, we do it well. We're stronger for it."
There will always be new and different challenges ahead, and
Sharpe encouraged advisors to use them to provide value to clients and
"There's always going to be something else," he
said. "If you didn't want that, you would've sold widgets."