For travel agents in the Midwest, the biggest night of the year is the Apple Vacations Trade Show. This year over 1000 agents came from far and wide to Stay Connected, the theme for this year’s trade show.
I find it’s a fantastic opportunity to develop relationships with hotels, regional airports, tourism offices and the teams at Apple Vacations.
This year to make booking smaller groups easier agents now have a new on line booking tool. Group Ease is a program to book mini groups of 10-20 passengers with no contract or group deposit. A promo code must be obtained from Groups prior to booking. There are bonuses for weddings and for the bride and groom through Group Ease too. I was especially happy to hear the AV-OK insurance is available for these bookings too! And should the group develop to 21 passengers, the same comps and bonuses will be awarded when transferred to the Group Department.
One of the highlights of the evening is when we learn who the recipients of the coveted Crystal Awards and Golden Apple Awards are. Tim Mullen, Co President of Apple Vacations said, “What makes the Crystal Award so special is it’s truly the people’s choice award. The recipients are chosen from hundreds of thousands questionnaires from our customers.” The six 2011 Crystal Awards were presented to:
The Crystal Best All- Inclusive Award went to Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall.
The Crystal Award for Best Staff and Service Caribbean went to Couples Negril.
Best Staff and Service Mexico was awarded to Riu Palace Riviera Maya.
Best Staff and Service Hawaii Crystal Award for 2011 went to Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa.
The Best Destination awarded to Costa Rica with nominations to the Riviera Maya in Mexico, the Hawaiian Islands and Huatulco, Mexico.
At a separate ceremony earlier in the day, an additional 145 properties received the designation of Golden Apple Hotels for exceptional service, quality and value. I know I can recommend these Crystal and Golden award winning and nominated properties with confidence because I stay connected with Apple Vacations.
*Photos courtesy of Travel Designed by Stephanie