“As my dad always says….keep smiling, and make a difference!”
Those were the closing remarks from Bill La Macchia, Jr. at the final general session from The Mark Travel Corporation’s 2018 Summit which capped a week of learning, connecting and sharing best practices within the travel industry. The annual Summit is a chance for agents to connect with fellow agents, to network with industry executives and suppliers, and kick back with some fun and celebration in beautiful Cancun, Mexico.
This year’s Summit (the fifth annual) was held at The Grand at Moon Palace from Sept. 26-29, and was without a doubt the most exciting yet. The event had nearly 1,000 attendees, including 600+ travel agents, more than 100 suppliers, and boasted 52 workshops and roundtable sessions with a single mission in mind: grow the travel industry through the ongoing education of and commitment to travel agents and the travel agency model. AMResorts and Hard Rock Hotels held events that were worthy of spectacle status, rolling out the red carpet for the fifth-annual event and all of its attendees.
Trisept Solutions had a great presence at the event, starting with VAX’s sponsorship of the registration event, where agents got their first taste of all the excitement to come. We then held a workshop for agents on leveraging rich content and empowered agents to become contributing editors to The Compass by writing engaging content (it’s easier than you think!) and submitting it to The Compass editorial team. Xcelerator, our sister product, was also well-represented at the event, holding two different workshops. One focused on how technology like Xcelerator can help you innovate your business needs, and the other outlined the ways VAX and Xcelerator create the industry’s most powerful combination for travel professionals.
Another highlight for Trisept Solutions at Summit was the participation of John Ische, president of Trisept Solutions, in the agency owner panel. The panel gave agency owners a chance to ask questions of those company leaders, and get answers directly from them. He was joined by four other executives from OneALG: Jacki Marks, Barbie Groves, Ray Snisky and Ron Jacobs. Ische highlighted the excitement around the new combined OneALG. “I think you should look forward to a lot of innovation from the merger,” Ische said.
While the learnings were great and the event was filled with many highlights from executives within both Apple Leisure Group’s and The Mark Travel Corporation’s legacy brands, the heart of the event lived in the La Macchia family’s almost ceremonious farewell to the travel industry, and the visible expression of gratitude from both the family as well as those in attendance. This event marked the last public appearance for the La Macchia family under the new umbrella of the recently merged Apple Leisure Group (ALG). “At this event you are living a legacy,” said Bill La Macchia, Jr., when addressing the crowd. “This is a celebration of you, and of our support of each of you throughout the 45 year history of the company my dad started. No company will ever invest in agents the way that our company has, and we are all excited to see what the future holds for all of you.”
The tear-filled farewell celebrated The Mark Travel Corporation’s unwavering commitment to travel agents, and to the travel agency model over the course of the company’s strong history. The event also included special appearances by Lee Brower as well as Señor Joe Martinez of Lomas Travel and El Dorado Hotels who received a standing ovation from the audience.
The Mark Travel Corporation (known to agents more recently as TMTC) started more than 45 years ago. Bill La Macchia, a travel agent himself at the time of the company’s inception, started the company with the sole purpose of creating a tour operator that “I would like to do business with,” to use his words. Now more than 45 years later, one of the great patriarchs of this industry with his wife and family by his side, bid those in attendance farewell. “I am so proud of the work that this team, these people have accomplished over these past years,” said La Macchia, addressing the audience. “The La Macchia family leaves you in the capable hands of the talented people who truly have made this company what it is. The people who work with you each and every day will remain, and remain committed to each of you. Now with the recent merger we are stronger than ever, and I see a bright future for each and every one of you.”
As ALG moves forward into the next chapter (now merged with TMTC as OneALG), the message was made clear: this business is about people. It’s about relationships. It’s about creating a brighter future for those within the industry, and for those whose lives we touch. That goes for each of you as agents, for our valued suppliers, and for the individuals in those international destinations whose lives we affect with each and every vacationer that we send on the vacation of their dreams.