Thursday, July 25, 2024

What’s next for Roger Block and Travel Leaders Network?

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Travel Leaders Network president Roger Block, who will step down from his executive role at the end of this year, is confident he is leaving TLN better than when he found it.

That was evident at Travel Leaders Network’s annual Edge conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, where the organization said it was coming off its most successful year ever. It’s a milestone that coincides with Block’s departure, marking the end of a 16-year run leading the organization and capping a 45-year career in travel. Block says his transition is coming at exactly the right time. 

Travel Leaders Network said that sales of contemporary cruises are leading growth, driven by capacity increases from new ships inspiring fresh demand. Its river and luxury cruise segments yielded double-digit growth as well as lucrative commissions for advisors, and its land business, particularly all-inclusives and FIT tours in Europe, is performing well, with close-in summer and fall vacation inquiries. 

New partnerships are also fueling success and growth, with Travel Leaders Network establishing and expanding agreements with destinations such as Australia, Germany and Saudi Arabia that will offer exclusive education and fam opportunities for members.

And Travel Leaders Network said technology tools and programs continue to be enhanced or introduced in order to make booking, trip management and lead generation easier for advisors.

“What a perfect time to leave,” Block said, adding that it wouldn’t be his style to depart any other way. “You can’t leave when it’s down.”

While Block will no longer be as involved in the day-to-day operations of Travel Leaders Network, that doesn’t mean he won’t have any involvement with the company he helped build into the industry giant it is today.

He’ll stay on in an advisory role, enabling him to lend his expertise to the organization and support its advisor network through strategic planning or developing business plans, projects Block said he still enjoys.

“There’s a big difference between stepping down and walking away,” Block said. “I’m still so committed to this industry, to the relationships, to the friendships that I’ve made. I have the creativity, I’ll still have that role, but now I can do some other things on a personal level.”

Business will go on as usual until around December, Block said, adding that his daily duties will remain unchanged in the lead-up to his departure as president, which he said could happen in December or even January, depending on Travel Leaders Network’s needs. 

Attention now turns to who will succeed Block as president and where Travel Leaders Network goes from here.
But Travel Leaders Group president John Lovell isn’t too worried about a future without Block — he’s more concerned with finding the right person to succeed him. 

“Right now, we are focusing on finishing 2024 strong as we evaluate future leadership,” Lovell said. “But whoever that leader turns out to be, I think what we are looking for is trust. Our members put a lot of trust in us to grow their businesses, and our staff trusts leadership to make Travel Leaders Network the best place to work. So finding someone who always seeks to be worthy of that trust will be a key goal.”

As for what comes next, Lovell said the plan is to continue to do what it has always done: provide the best products, services and tools for members to be successful.

“I am very bullish on TLN’s future,” Lovell said. “I can’t emphasize enough the impact Roger Block has had on the business. It has prospered under his leadership, and we are so lucky that he will continue to be involved after stepping aside as president at the end of the year.”

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