Building and maintaining strong relationships is critical in the travel industry, especially for a host agency. A host agency must establish and nurture relationships with vendors and partners around the world to ensure the success of their advisors. The GTN Partner Relations Team is constantly working behind the scenes in cultivating important relationships with industry partners. With these valuable partnerships GTN travel advisors gain access to a range of exclusive benefits that they would not be able to access on their own.
Today, we took the time to chat with GTN Partner Relations Coordinator, Ashlyn Treadaway. Ashlyn has been a member of the partner relations team for six months now. Before joining GTN, she received her undergraduate degree in Marketing with a minor in Accounting and her Masters degree in Business Administration both from Appalachian State University. With no prior travel experience before joining GTN, we asked Ashlyn a few questions about her role, experience thus far and the inside scoop into the world of partner relations.
Q: Ashlyn, could you give us a high-level summary of what the partner relations team does for GTN members on a day-to-day basis, as well as any other specific information you might want to mention?
A: The Partner Relations Team is so fortunate to have strong relationships throughout the travel industry and because of this, we are able to offer a very high level of support to our members. Of course, no one is immune to missteps, and though not often, these situations do arise where our members need an extra layer of support or guidance. We have the ability to jump in and assist as we build the bridge to gap the distance between our members and our partners.
Q: What are some of your big takeaways about the travel industry and the value of partner relationships now that you’ve been in your position for (around) six months?
A: I’d say my biggest takeaway is the power of human connection. While Erica and I were in New York City, we attended an event where Matthew Upchurch, CEO & Chairman of Virtuoso, spoke about The Business of How Did You Make Me Feel. This is an important concept, as people may forget experiences but will always remember how you made them feel. So much value comes from meeting our colleagues in person and the memories, excitement, and ideas that come from each conversation.
Q: Could you explain what your trip to New York City was for, and just a few highlights from your time?
A: At the beginning of March, Erica Whitaker, Director of Partner Relations, and I were able to spend a week in New York City connecting with new Virtuoso partners and deepening bonds with existing partners and friends. This trip started as an opportunity to support our partners at Hyatt and expanded into several days of meeting our colleagues at various events. We were able to attend multiple roadshows, dinners, lunches, and cocktail parties to hear about the newest happenings in 2023. We repeatedly heard that Gifted Travel Network advisors are always the most professional, attentive, ready to participate, and excited to learn advisors in the business! It was a particularly exciting opportunity for me because it was my first business trip and my first time in New York City. This trip allowed me to create new relationships with partners and grow my experience in the luxury space.
Q: How do you feel that travel advisors can/do benefit from the relationships GTN has with their partners?
A: Because of Gifted Travel Network’s relationship with our Preferred Partners and other travel industry professionals, we are able to advocate for our members on a higher level. These relationships also make it easier for our members to contact our partners directly, we have a go-to representative from each Preferred Partner whom our members are able to build a connection with which allows for more autonomy in their business.
Q: In your words, what is the importance of GTN having their own portfolio of preferred partners?
A: Gifted Travel Network having our own portfolio of Preferred Partners is so important. This allows us to thoroughly vet each partner and ensure that they can provide a quality experience to our members and their clients. The extra layer of investigation instills confidence in our network of advisors that they will receive a certain level of service from these partners which is imperative when dealing with transactions of this magnitude. The Partner Relations Team is also able to negotiate on behalf of our advisors to gain access to higher commission levels, exclusive perks for their clients, etc. through our Preferred Partner Program.
For more information on our preferred partner portfolio and hotel elite programs please visit our hosting page.