By Jamie Biesiada
ORLANDO — Ensemble Travel Group’s
new nonshareholder affiliate division will
enable agents to reap many of the
benefits the consortium offers for
a fraction of the cost of becoming a full, shareholding member.
Co-presidents Lindsay Pearlman and Libbie Rice announced
the Ensemble Affiliate Division
during the company’s annual
conference at the Omni Orlando
Resort at ChampionsGate here.
The program — which costs
$199 annually, thousands less
than joining as a shareholder — is geared
toward small, niche and midsize travel
organizations. It includes access to Ensemble’s contracts, technology, marketing,
training programs and events like the annual conference.
Pearlman said Ensemble’s field team
reached out to agencies that are not En-
semble members and found a demand for
such a division. He said it offers a good way
for agencies that might be interested in af-
filiating with a consortium to give it a try.
“The thought was, well, how do we allow them to come in and see what we’re all
about?” he said.
The program would also be a
good fit for smaller agencies that
might not make minimum production requirements but could
still benefit from the technology
and other offerings. Pearlman
called it “a nice little sweet spot.”
Ensemble’s split of U.S. and
Canadian members is about
50/50. Canadian agencies will
have the opportunity to come
onboard as affiliates, as well.
David Harris, vice chairman and owner
and president of Orion Travelinx in Burl-
ington, Ontario, said, “it’s safe to say that
[the affiliate membership’s] intent is not to
be our driver. It’s an alternative, and it’s ad-
dressing a specific market need.”
Harris cited an example of members
“who are in their sunset stage” and could
benefit from scaling back membership ex-
penses but could still use the tools offered
at the affiliate level.
Affiliate members will have limitations
that shareholder members do not. They
will not be able to vote, sit on the
board or host on hosted cruise
programs, nor will they share in
Ensemble is organized as a
member-owned cooperative. To
join, agencies must have been
in business for a minimum of
two years; be accredited by ARC,
IATA or CLIA; meet or exceed a
minimum level of preferred supplier sales; pay an annual membership fee; purchase a share of stock upon
membership approval; and attend the annual international conference.
Pearlman said the annual shareholder
membership fee is $1,188 per year, and
additional services are available a la carte.
Upon first joining Ensemble, shareholder
members must also purchase a share in the
company for $2,000. That money is placed
in a trust account and held in perpetuity.
Regardless of the size of their organization, each member holds one share in the
cooperative. If one shareholder bought
another, Pearlman said, the second share
would need to be redeemed and
they would only own one share.
If a shareholder leaves Ensemble,
they get their investment back.
If the company were ever to be
sold, shareholders would be paid
out based on its value at the time.
“Ideally, we want somebody to
come in as a shareholder,” Pearlman said.
However, he said, the affiliate
division is a recruiting tool. Affiliate members can upgrade to shareholder
status at any time, as long as they meet the
As of now, there is no limit on the number of affiliate members that will be accepted, Pearlman said. Asked what happens
if there comes a point where there are too
many affiliate members to support the program, he said, “I’d be delighted to have to
cross that bridge.”
Ensemble affiliate program offers agencies low-cost alternative
HAL introduces a trio of new partnerships
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NEW YORK — Holland America Line (HAL) announced a trio
of strategic partnerships, including one with BBC Earth that will
beef up the line’s “edutainment”
The other two partnerships
will help prospective guests plan
cruises, HAL said. Afar Media will
supply write-ups of about 400
ports visited by HAL ships. And
Utrip will provide a personalized,
interactive itinerary planning
tool. Both will be integrated into
HAL President Orlando Ash-
ford said the partnership with
Afar will deliver shore excursion
information in a way that’s nev-
er been done before. The Utrip
tool will provide a “fun and en-
gaging way” for guests to per-
sonalize their voyage plans be-
fore their ship departs, he said.
The BBC Earth partnership
has similarities to one forged a
year ago by Princess Cruises and
Discovery Channel, Discovery
at Sea, which also aims to raise
awareness of the natural world.
One BBC Earth onboard
highlight will be a live concert
based on its “Frozen Planet”
program that sets footage from
the program to live musical ac-
BBC Earth also will supply
enrichment activities, including a game show based on “the
weird, wonderful and obscure
in our natural world” and BBC
Earth theater screenings with
introductions by the film crew
behind the programs.
Holland America Line covered
air and hotel costs in the reporting
of this article.
HAL President Orlando Ashford
at New York’s Explorers Club on
Oct. 29, where the cruise line
announced partnerships with Afar,
BBC Earth and Utrip.