Jennifer Stevens is the U.S Senior Trade Marketing Specialist for small-group based tour company G Adventures. With G Adventures Jennifer not only oversees trade media partnerships and agent campaigns, but has also worked hard for the last six years to cultivate relationships with top preferred agencies and consortium accounts. G Adventures’ is currently on the search for agents for the 2018 Ambassadors of Change program, something Jennifer is very excited to talk about. A native Rhode Islander, she has had the opportunity to travel to an array of different locations around the globe. Read on to learn more about G Adventures, Jennifer, and their incredible Ambassadors for Change Program.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Was there anything particular about travel that drew you in and inspired you to want to work in the industry?
Jennifer Stevens (JS): Growing up as a first generation Laotian and Vietnamese American, my parents always made sure our culture and traditions were embedded into our core beliefs. I was lucky enough to travel to Laos at the age of 12. The experience opened my eyes and heart to the importance of my heritage, and to inspire others to feel the same. From there, I became more and more keen to try new adventures and experience different cultures.
G Adventures became the perfect place for me to not only do that, but also be able to share that with others.
TRO: You have held the role of US Senior Trade Marketing Specialist for G Adventures for the last six years, and I am sure you have learned a lot! Is there any advice you can give someone trying to branch into this sector, or any advice you can give to someone getting their start in the marketing side of the industry?
JS: For those just beginning, I’d say to always remember not only the what, but the “why” of your campaign. When you find the answers to that, you’ll always be able to deliver a passionate and purposeful message to promote.
TRO: What does a typical day for you look like? What are some of your roles and responsibilities? Is each day different from the last, or are they all generally the same? Let us walk a mile in your shoes!
JS: No day is ever the same at G Adventures! One day it could include a team meeting in our Jim Henson-themed meeting room to review global marketing updates, and share each other’s top projects (All of our conference spaces are designed around world-changers and great adventurers). Another day could include meeting with trade media partners to brainstorm ways to increase G Adventure’s brand presence, while serving their business needs. And if it happens to be a Wednesday, you can find me at our Boston Briefing, which is a bi-weekly meeting to hear updates from each department in the United States. No matter the day, there is always communication and collaboration involved.
TRO: G Adventures recently debuted their search for Ambassadors of Change for 2018. Can you tell us about this program and how it functions?
JS: It is one of our most engaging programs ever run! It is designed to educate, inspire and empower purpose-driven travel agents. The seven agent Ambassadors selected to partner with us in 2018 will learn and help us promote the ‘why’ of responsible tourism, plus G Adventures’ life-changing tours and our “G for Good” community development projects, amongst their agent communities. The Ambassadors will have around the clock support from their local sales representatives (GPS) and our Planeterra Ambassador to help them become successful in their one-year term.
TRO: How did the idea for the Ambassadors for Change come about? Has it been successful and influential in the travel community thus far?
JS: The idea came when we realized we were in need of an engagement program for our US agents, and we witnessed the tremendous enthusiasm of smaller but similar pilot programs run by our teams in Europe and Britain. We’ve run incentive programs and educational webinars in the U.S. in past, but we were looking for a way to more closely connect with agents through shared purpose. Our first group of Ambassadors has been hugely successful! They’ve collectively traveled almost 85,000 miles to seven countries to visit G for Good projects, become brand Ambassadors amongst their agent communities, and have earned respect as subject experts (such as Social Media tips for Travel) during their term.
TRO: In addition to your role overseeing trade media partnerships and agent campaigns as US Senior Trade Marketing Specialist you have cultivated relationships with top preferred agencies and consortium accounts. Can you tell us more about this process? Has it been challenging?
JS: For as long as I’ve been here, I’ve been lucky enough to create ever-lasting relationships with our preferred partners. They all hold a different key to our business and with the help of our ‘GPS’ sales team, we devote our time and resources to ensure each of their expectations is met. Since I speak with our agency partners on a weekly basis, they become less of our customer and more of an extended part of the G Adventures family. It’s natural that I’ll learn what type of person they are outside of their office and the connection made is important to sustain strong and mutually beneficial relationships.
TRO: You have been lucky enough to visit an array of places, including Egypt, Thailand, and Peru! Do you have a favorite destination so far? How about a destination you have always wanted to travel to, but haven’t yet?
JS: My favorite amongst those is Peru! Machu Picchu itself is a magical place to see. The food is delicious! The culture and people are full of life and I have always imagined myself going back there again. Next place on my bucket list is Morocco, which also happens to be one of G Adventures’ forecasted hot destinations for adventure travel in 2018.
TRO: What can we expect to see from G Adventures this upcoming year? Any exciting news you can share with us?
JS: We’ve got plenty ahead of us this year! We’ll be announcing the return of our North American incentive program, G-Normous very soon. It’s our much anticipated four-month long agent campaign that will include over $100k in prizes for travel agents to win with sales during peak booking season. Additionally, we’ll be looking at different ways to revamp our educational tools and naming our 2018 class of Ambassadors of Change.
If you are interested in applying to be one of the next Ambassadors for G Adventures, you can do so at the following link: http://www.gadventures.com/ambassador