As Associate Director of Sales, one of my favorite annual projects is working with my colleagues in Chicago to plan the Crystal Agency Retreat. This event honors our National Crystal and Crystal Apple Agencies across the Country for their outstanding accomplishments and partnership with Apple Vacations. In past years, retreats have been held in Punta Cana, Cancun, Jamaica, Riviera Maya & Puerto Vallarta where we provide the agents with airfare, hotel accommodations and full VIP treatment for 3 to 4 days. This year’s event proved exciting as we added a new destination to the retreat line up – Los Cabos, Mexico! As you can imagine coordination of air, hotel, transfers, excursions, cocktail receptions, dinners & entertainment for 36 passengers can be harrowing. But working with the professional teams from Amstar, AM Resorts as well as our airline friends at Frontier, Delta & United, everything operates like a well -oiled machine and make our efforts appear seamless.
In future posts, I’ll go into detail on the wonderful hospitality of Secrets Marquis Los Cabos and the incredible destination of Los Cabos. For now, I’ll concentrate on the retreat itself. Aside from the cocktail receptions, gourmet dinners and general camaraderie around the pool, this event affords us one on one exposure to Apple’s top selling agencies. Conversations touch on a myriad of topics and give our Executive Management and Sales Staff the opportunity to strengthen an already solid relationship as well as take back to Headquarters any ‘hot ticket’ items in the agent community. It’s also a time for reunion as 75% of agents have been attending the retreat faithfully for the past few years. It’s also a joy to welcome new faces to the event and watch recent Crystal Agency recipients enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Although there is play, a lot of play, there’s work too. Site inspections, presentations and harder tasks, such as deciding what excursion to take today. There’s also time for one on one business discussions and updates from the sales rep for whatever hotel we’re hosted by. It’s also a time for agents and Apple Staff alike to get to know a hotel property, destination and each other. A former boss once told me ‘it’s all about the relationship’. If nothing else, the annual Crystal Agency Retreat emphasizes Apple’s commitment to our Travel Agent partners and our genuine desire for their continued success. That in itself makes all the planning worthwhile.