May 19, 2024


Inspired By Travel

Veteran Travel Agency Owner Hosts Second Successful Business Retreat

WHY IT RATES: Repeat attendees reported a boost in business shortly after the Pivot & Prosper event. —Codie Liermann, Senior Editor

Denise Canon, owner of Kansas City-based travel agency Travel Concepts, hosted her second intimate retreat for travel agents earlier this May in Cancun, Mexico. Hosted at The Grand at Moon Palace and Sun Palace Resorts, the five-day Pivot & Prosper II Retreat focused on affirming foundational business and marketing skills, cultivating a resilient mindset and building a community of success-minded travel pros.

Canon founded her agency more than 25 years ago and has grown it through industry-shaking events like 9/11. She credits her longevity and growth—she now has eight ICs and two employees pulling in $5 million in annual sales—to figuring out how to run a business effectively and meet challenges with creativity.

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“It’s not enough to know travel,” said Canon. “To succeed as an agent today, you need a rock-solid business foundation, from executing a clear marketing plan to ensuring all your legal ducks are in a row. And as the past year has shown us, you also need to be agile in the face of adversity—that’s why this retreat focused on cultivating a creative mindset and giving yourself permission to pivot.”

The Pivot & Prosper II Retreat was a follow up to a retreat Canon hosted in November 2020, which was well received by attending agents. That first retreat revealed how hungry agents were to connect with their peers and work on their businesses, so Canon quickly organized a second event to capitalize on the momentum. In fact, nearly half of the attendees at May’s event attended the first Pivot & Prosper retreat.

One repeat attendee was Sarah Key, owner of the Keys of Travel, who credits attending the retreats with boosting her business in a big way. “Attending the first event in November 2020 helped reignite my business after a tough year,” said Key. “I had the best 3 months of business after this event, and I know for a fact it was because of the inspiration and knowledge I gained from everyone at the Pivot & Prosper Retreat. It’s an invaluable event for travel advisors looking to grow personally and professionally.”

In addition to intimate networking opportunities and exclusive site visits, Canon also brought in subject-matter experts to strategize with attendees during focused workshop sessions. Misty Percifield, an attorney at Ment Law Group, shared insights into how agents could shore up their contracts to protect their clients and themselves—especially in the uncertain post-COVID travel environment. She was especially impressed with the caliber of agents who attended the event.

“This was my second time attending and presenting at a Pivot and Prosper event, and each time has been an incredible experience,” said Percifield. “The participants are always eager to learn from each other and all of the professionals available. Because the group size is elite, I have enjoyed being able to cultivate great relationships with all of the participants involved. Spending time with others in the industry is a great way to grow your business and these retreats do just that!”

Canon also invited Emily Matras of Bon Vivant Copy, a copywriting and content marketing studio for travel professionals, to share strategies on crafting effective messaging that powerfully attracts ideal clients.

“I’m so glad Denise organized this event now, because it’s the perfect time for agents to re-visit their messaging—and position themselves as the go-to experts for the coming travel boom,” said Matras. “The trying past year has given many agents time to reflect on who they really want to serve in their travel businesses. I was thrilled to be able to teach attendees how to target their marketing messages to their dream clients in an authentic and captivating way.”

After the successes of the first and second Pivot & Prosper retreats, Canon is already planning a third event for later this year; she’s targeting mid-November for the next retreat.

To view a recap and program overview of the Pivot & Prosper II Retreat, visit

SOURCE: Travel Concepts press release.