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Independent Advisor Community Celebrates Professionalism with Awards Ceremony, Unique Training

Alexandria, VA, September 22, 2017- ASTA Small Business Network (SBN) is celebrating another successful, business-building annual conference bringing together in Anchorage, Alaska.

"Our SBN community is stronger than ever before and our annual conference gives us a chance to connect and celebrate,” said Ann Chamberlin, President of SBN. “We come together to share knowledge and teach advirsors how to take their business to the next level, including this year a chance to engage with ASTA’s recently-launched Verified Travel Advisor certification program. We are so grateful to all our members and industry partners who continuously show their support and commitment to SBN and the travel professional."

Among the unique features for conference attendees was the chance to take part in an exclusive opportunity to complete three of the nine courses of the new Verified Travel Advisor program, launched last month by the American Society of Travel Advirsors (ASTA). The three courses offered on-site (valued at $570) at the conference included: “The Art and Science of Negotiation” and “Advanced Public Speaking” presented by Peter Kerr and “Ethics for Travel Advisors” presented by ASTA General Counsel Peter Lobasso.

Another highlight was the SBN Gala Awards Cocktail Reception & Dinner, sponsored by Holland America Line, Visit Anchorage, Travel Juneau and Explore Fairbanks, where Ann Chamberlin and Bob Duglin, VP Businesses Development at SBN, announced the Association’s 2017 award winners:

  • SBN River Cruise Line Partner of the Year: AmaWaterways
  • SBN Luxury Cruise Line Partner of the Year: Seabourn
  • SBN Premium Cruise Line Partner of the Year: Celebrity Cruises
  • SBN Contemporary Cruise Line Partner of the Year: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
  • SBN Tour Partner of the Year: Globus Family of Brands
  • SBN Boutique Tour Partner of the Year: Salmon Berry Travel & Tours
  • SBN Niche Partner of the Year: Alaska Railroad
  • SBN Destination Partner of the Year: Hawaii Tourism United States
  • SBN Hotel Partner of the Year: Hotel Captain Cook
  • SBN All-Inclusive Partner of the Year: Playa Hotels & Resorts
  • Chris Kai’aokamalie – Spirit of SBN - Supplier Liaison of the Year: Ron Gulaskey, Celebrity Cruises
  • SBN Partner on the Rise: Alaska Airlines
  • Tania Hancock - Spirit of SBN - Partner of the Year: Visit Anchorage
  • SBN Chapter Excellence Award: Mid-Michigan Chapter
  • Regional Director of the Year: Ken Kimi
  • Chapter Director of the Year: Eugenia Chinsman
  • David M. Thrower - Spirit of SBN - Member of the Year: Dan Smith

For 2018, the SBN Annual Conference will take place in Washington, D.C. on August 23-26 following the ASTA Global Convention, August 21-24, 2018.


SBN (formerly SBN) is the travel industry’s leading national trade association representing independent contractors, outside sales consultants, cruise and tour oriented consultants, group oriented travel professionals and traditional ARC-appointed travel agencies that provide services and support to such professionals. Established in 1986, SBN’s mission is to represent the interest of independent travel entrepreneurs and to promote professionalism and recognition for the professional independent consultant. SBN is an affiliate of ASTA, the American Society of Travel Advirsors, the world’s largest travel trade association.