With 11,000 square feet of dedicated floor space and offices for more than 50 employees, this Travel Planners International office represents a significant expansion from the company’s previous location. Although TPI currently has about 25 employees, it plans to ramp up hiring in the months ahead and could fill out the new location’s capacity over the medium term.
“As a member-driven organization, the steady growth also requires more support from us as a host agency, which means more staff,” says Tony Gagliano Jr., TPI’s chief operating officer. “That’s why we designed our new building to be more than twice the size of our previous facility. It’s a true sign of TPI’s success.”
The new Travel Planners International office has a number of unique features that will cement TPI’s competitive advantage by being able to provide additional marketing resources and tools to its independent contractors, mainly to those interested in creating a niche market. First, it includes enough office space for the entire staff, including senior management, accounting teams, business development specialists, marketing employees and support staff.
The new office also boasts a state-of-the-art video production facility for TPI’s increasingly sophisticated multimedia marketing operation. With a green screen and high-tech editing capabilities, this facility will be open to TPI’s internal marketing employees as well as individual members who wish to produce their own client-facing material.
“With this facility, we will be able to produce personalized footage for agents that can then be incorporated into their respective websites to showcase their expertise and specialties,” says Gagliano. “Plus, the new studio and a 40-seat training room will allow us to really ramp up our supplier training…giving us the ability to stream content directly to our members.”
Perhaps most ambitiously, the new Travel Planners International office houses the operations for the company’s “Training – Education – Ambassador – Meetings” (T.E.A.M.) initiative. Launched in January of 2014, T.E.A.M. is building a network of high-profile TPI ambassadors who can apply to attend important events and regional supplier training seminars.
The program’s ultimate aim is to create dense local agent networks that help members work together to find new clients and opportunities. In turn, such networks will consolidate TPI’s already prominent position as a top host travel agency while providing its independent contractors with the opportunity to develop their individual businesses as the top choice among the competition.
“The program was driven by the lack of opportunity to locally network with other home-based agents,” says Gagliano. “Agents have been asking for this for years. It’s all possible because of the thousands of members we have and our preferred suppliers being fully committed to the opportunity for getting quality face-time with agents.”
“Overall, our goal is to develop more ways to educate our agents…and find ways to recruit more travel professionals,” adds Gagliano. “Efforts like T.E.A.M. and our new headquarters office will go a long way in achieving that goal.”