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Found: The travel industry’s most ICON-ic reward you need to know about now

Want to be part of an agency network that rewards and recognises its top independent agency owners? Does an all-inclusive luxe trip sound like #goals? Forget FOMO and enjoy all the benefits of being part of the FCTG Independent family. Plus, read on to find out where next year’s Independent Icons will be held.

Want to be part of an agency network that rewards and recognises its top independent agency owners? Does an all-inclusive luxe trip sound like #goals? Forget FOMO and enjoy all the benefits of being part of the FCTG Independent family. Plus, read on to find out where next year’s Independent Icons will be held.

The first-ever Independent Icons event treated the best of the best travel entrepreneurs with extraordinary experiences for an exclusive event that attendees all agreed was unforgettable.

This impressive gathering not only celebrated the achievements of the top performers from diverse corners of the globe but also showcased the network’s expansive reach, emphasising its commitment to nurturing a tightly interconnected worldwide community.

This is only the beginning, with Michelle Droguette joining the FCTG Independent team as the new Partnerships & Events Executive, the network can expect to see a lot more of where this came from.

FCTG Independent, the global agency network that includes Travel Partners, Travel Associates at Home, Travel Associates franchises and Flight Centre Independent advisors, recently held its inaugural Independent Icons event aboard Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ ultra-luxe SS Beatrice.

Next stop: luxe rewards

The entire Icons group at Vienna Art History Museum.

The five-day river cruise from Budapest to Vienna hosted 76 travel advisors and agency owners, representing 55 independent agencies within the FCTG Independent network from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.

Icons were invited to bring plus-ones to enjoy an extra-special reward trip tailored just for them.

The gathering not only celebrated the amazing achievements of all on board, it also offered the unrivalled opportunity for FCTG’s global network of independent advisors to get together for the first time.

The SS Beatrice.

They enjoyed a shared camaraderie with fellow peers and top-tier suppliers for networking, knowledge-sharing and celebrating in a highly enviable environment.

While wining, dining and seeing the sights, they forged unique bonds and experienced supplier products for the one-of-a-kind insights that can only come from first-hand travel.

The ICON-ic reward

The FCTG Independent Global Leadership Team in all white for the first night aboard.

Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge joined the FCTG Independent entrepreneurs for the entire Icons cruise, even performing champagne sabrage on the river ship rooftop on the first night’s scenic sailing among the twinkling cityscape in Budapest.

Other sponsors spoiled advisors with additional surprises, such as a three-night stay with The Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt and Singapore Airlines business-class pyjamas, used for a silent disco after-party on the second night, complete with Singapore Sling cocktails.

Singapore Airlines’ Silent Disco.

TTC Tour Brands hosted an exclusive excursion at the Schieszl Winery, near Budapest, one of Trafalgar’s  Be My Guest experiences, while advisors also received gifts every evening.

Feeling the love

FCTG Independent Australia GM Nick Queale and his wife, Catherine, with SportsLink Travel’s Simone Fernon and her guest, Mariana.

SportsLink Travel’s Simone Fernon described the Uniworld experience as “breathtaking” and full of memories she will treasure forever.

“From the moment we stepped on board Uniworld, we felt so special and so connected with everyone from all countries. The sponsor updates were exciting and packed with great knowledge to take away.”

Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge & Blast Experiences’ Callum Brown.

Fellow attendee Callum Brown from Blast Experiences was similarly blown away by the Independent Icons experience.

“It was absolutely amazing and I feel so grateful to have experienced this trip. All the sponsors were involved from start to finish and Ellen and her team were next-level – I could not fault the Uniworld experience at all.”

Attracting high-calibre sponsors

FCTG Independent Global Head of Brand & Marketing Allie Sparr, Regent Seven Seas Cruises Senior BDM Australia Elsa McLean & Lindblad Expeditions Vice President of Global Sales Jacinta McEvoy.

Sponsors were also enamoured with the first-ever event and thrilled to jump aboard to celebrate the global network’s best performers.

Alongside Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, top-tier sponsors included Adventure World; Lindblad Expeditions; TTC Tour Brands and Cover-More.

Flying the Icons flag.

Other Sponsors in attendance were Singapore Airlines; Inclusive Collection, part of the World of Hyatt; Expedia TAAP and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, while sponsors AAT Kings, Back-Roads Touring, Intrepid Travel and Norwegian Cruise Line supported from afar.

Sustainable travel initiatives were also at the heart of Independent Icons with Sustainability Sponsors Allianz Global Assistance and carbon offset partner Trees4Travel committed to planting 1,963 trees to offset the event’s carbon footprint.

Feeling inspired

Travel Partners’ Caoimhe Hardy (right) and her husband, Mick.

Lindblad Expeditions Vice President of Global Sales Jacinta McEvoy welcomed the opportunity to attend the inaugural event with a wonderful group of advisors, saying everything was five-star.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Senior Business Development Manager Australia Elsa McLean received a similar stellar impression of the successful network of independent and home-based advisors.

“The Icons represent the best of the best in their field. Inspiring conversations about overcoming adversity and excitement for the future of travel were present at every table and it was truly beautiful to witness,” she enthused.

“I’ve walked away with new friends for life and a whole new bucket list of places I want to go to myself.”

And the next Icons destination is…

Aerial view of heart-shaped island in the Maldives.
The idyllic Maldives.

After setting such a high mark with its first-ever Independent Icons event aboard a Uniworld luxury river cruise ship, FCTG Independent will raise the bar again with the 2024 event destination – the Maldives.

This announcement adds to an already impressive event schedule with Santiago, Chile named as the destination for its first-ever Global Network Conference.

With rewards in luxe locations like this, you’re going to want to get on board ASAP as more details about next year’s Icons event are revealed.

The inaugural Icons event demonstrated how FCTG Independent values and supports its global travel entrepreneur network, connecting across borders to build a tight-knit and interconnected worldwide community of exceptional advisors and agencies. 

Travel Crafters‘ Nirav Kotak was aboard the first-ever event and agreed that the opportunities to connect and engage with both peers and sponsors were priceless.

“Most people were unknown to me at the start of the trip and by the end, it felt like I knew them for months and years – the best connection during the trip and surely unforgettable moments,” he said.

“As for the opportunities to connect with the sponsors during the cruise, it was incredibly valuable. Being able to engage directly with sponsors allowed for deeper insights into their offerings and created a platform for meaningful discussions.

“It was an excellent way to understand the products and services firsthand while networking in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.”

Transform your travel business

Ready to join a global network that values its advisors, investing in their ongoing individual and business growth, potential and prosperity and offering the freedom and choice to steer your future?

With the ability to dial up FCTG Independent’s extensive resources, product ranges and expertise, you can also call on dedicated marketing, ticketing, product and general business support when you need it.

Are you ready to transform your travel business?  Email the team at ind_enquiries@flightcentre.com.au today to embark on your FCTG Independent journey.

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