If you have been keeping up with "all things" Gifted Travel Network (GTN), then you already know what a memorable day October 11, 2023 was for our host agency. We celebrated our 10-Year Anniversary Gala where we welcomed staff (both past & present), preferred partners, advisors and industry colleagues to Mooresville, NC for an evening filled with celebrations.
The History of Gifted Travel Network:
For those of you who are new here, let us take a second to explain the journey of GTN.
In 2012, the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE), founded by Meredith Calloway was in its second year of business. GIFTE was created to fill a massive gap in the industry industry around entrepreneurial education and community.
“As we coached more and more advisors through GIFTE, it became clear to us that supporting them in a holistic fashion required a host agency,” said Meredith Calloway, Chief Visionary Officer . “A host agency would allow us to help them choose the right supplier partners, earn greater commissions, implement more efficient systems, and truly bloom under their own brands—so that they could create businesses on their own terms.”
Thus, Gifted Travel Network (GTN) was launched in February 2013. GTN was best described as a host agency with a unique goal of encouraging its advisors to cultivate their own travel brands.
“Picture us in 2013, working out of my house and starting with practically nothing. We had no sales or an IATA number, nothing but a lot of passion and good ideas, I can see how people looked at us and said, “Who are these ladies? What are they trying to do? Start a host agency in a space where there were such long-time established market players.”
Is it a large uphill battle to go from literally nothing to making a splash in the industry? Yes, it is, but that was never the focus for the GTN Co-founders Meredith Calloway, Jen Cochrane, and Vanessa McGovern. These three had a lot of passion, and a clear vision that they could make a difference in the industry.
It was just a few months later in April, that GTN hired their first ever employee. And later that year in October, they would onboard their first Independent Contractor, Lisa Fletcher.
Over the years as the company grew with new advisors, employees and partners, it was in 2017 when Sandy Saburn officially joined the GTN leadership team.
In 2019 GTN officially joined Virtuoso, the leading luxury network of travel advisors. This was the "tipping point" that really catapulted GTN into the luxury travel space.
During the course of the past 10 years, GTN has outgrown three offices, hosted hundreds of virtual and in-person events, recently hired their thirtieth staff member and survived the biggest hit to the travel industry, a global pandemic. With all of that being said, we're excited to see what the next 10 years have in store for us!
The 10-Year Anniversary Celebrations:
The GTN 10-Year Anniversary Gala was held at the Venues at Langtree in Mooresville, NC.
The first event of the night was the cocktail hour, hosted at the venues outdoor reception area.
As the cocktail hour came to a close, guests made their way inside the venue for the dining and presentation portion of the night.
A special 10-Year Anniversary video was played to kick off the evening. This video shared photos throughout GTN's decade long journey.
Each member of the GTN Executive team welcomed guests and shared their story about the 10-year journey from starting the host agency to what it has become over the past decade.
After dinner, it was time for the award ceremony. The GTN visionary award was given to Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales at Royal Caribbean Cruises and Chris Austin, Chief Sales Officer at Explora Journeys. These two individuals played a major role in the success of GTN from the start. They believed in the "why" behind our host agency, and stood by us every step of the way.
Throughout the night, various team members and advisors took to the stage to deliver their presentations and share their kind words regarding GTN including Chief Executive Officer of Virtuoso, Matthew Upchurch.
And thats a wrap! In true GTN fashion, the past 10 years have been nothing but extraordinary in every way possible...and we are just getting started!