A streamlined edition of the UK’s premier travel agent awards will take place at the end of the summer season to celebrate the efforts of the trade during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Travel Weekly Agent Achievement Awards will take place on Thursday, September 16 after the 2020 event was postponed to enable agents and commercial partners to focus fully on their immediate business needs during the pandemic.
Maintaining that commitment to supporting trade partners, the 2021 category line-up has been shortened to remove the need for agencies and individuals to create and complete detailed entries during the rebuilding process and with reduced teams.
Focus on relationships and partnerships
Instead, the focus will be on the relationships and partnerships that have become even more critical in the past 18 months, as suppliers ranging from tour operators and destinations to airlines, cruise lines and add-ons specialists are asked to nominate and vote for their top agency partners based on region, business channel and product specialisms.
A small number of individual awards will be retained to honour those who have particularly excelled, and these will be open for agents and agencies to nominate colleagues and staff who they feel are worthy of recognition not just for their professional performance, but for their wider efforts to support partners, their teams, customers and communities.
Again, the process has been streamlined with nominations limited to 300 words and a final judging process taking place virtually to fit with shortlisted agents’ schedules.
Association partners Clia and Atas will also present the Clia Cruise Master and Atas Ambassador awards based on supplier member input, while lasting contribution to the agent community will be recognised in the Outstanding Achievement category.
The AAA ceremony itself will take place as always at London’s Park Plaza Westminster hotel in line with all relevant government guidance and will be supported for the first time by headline sponsor Virgin Atlantic.
Following the success of the Globe Travel Rewards in January 2021, a virtual event featuring prize giveaways and rewards for registered agents will also be broadcast for those not able to attend in person.
The Agent Achievement Rewards will take place on social media and online shortly before the Agent Achievement Awards, with prizes from a range of suppliers including Virgin Atlantic and other generous AAA sponsors.
Recognition for efforts during pandemic
Lucy Huxley, editor-in-chief of Travel Weekly Group, said: “We thought long and hard about the return of the UK’s leading travel agency awards after its postponement in 2020 as all agents are worthy of recognition for the efforts during the pandemic, but after consulting with readers and partners we felt it was right to celebrate the travel trade as it emerges the most difficult period in its history.
“We have looked carefully at the categories and entry processes to keep demands and requirements to an absolute minimum for this year’s streamlined edition, and we look forward to bringing agents and suppliers together at the end of the summer season as part of the industry’s rebuilding process.”
She added: “As always we are indebted to our supplier partners for their support, and I am delighted that this year’s event will be produced in association with headline partner Virgin Atlantic which has put travel agents firmly at the heart of its own recovery plans.”
Lee Haslett, Virgin Atlantic vice-president of global sales, said: “We are delighted to partner with Travel Weekly on these prestigious awards and are looking forward to September 16 when the amazing work done by so many agents throughout the past year will be recognised and celebrated.
“Travel agents are playing such a vital role in the recovery of the whole industry and everyone at Virgin Atlantic would like to thank you for all your support during the past year. Our partnerships with you all are truly valued and we can’t wait to celebrate with you all.”
Find our more and enter on the Agent Achievement Awards website