Travel Weekly editor Sarah LongbottomWhat a great night! About 1,300 leading travel industry professionals joined us this week to recognise and celebrate the achievements of this vibrant, dynamic sector at our Globe Travel Awards in London.

Voted for solely by travel agents and with all entries counted by an independent company, this is one event where you can be sure your voice is heard.

Presented in partnership with Associated Newspapers, this year’s event featured the consumer awards alongside the main trade awards for the first time.

The consumer press has a great influence on readers, who scour the travel pages for holiday ideas. As consumers play an important role in shaping today’s marketplace, we must embrace this development and find opportunities within it.

The role of the consumer in travel was again highlighted by the winner of our special Award for Innovation, TripAdvisor. Innovation is key to high performance and is what makes a company really stand out from the crowd.

Across its eight brands, TripAdvisor receives nearly 30 million visitors a month, and offers a wealth of online user-generated content.

While consumer-generated content is very informative, the genuine expertise and customer knowledge offered by travel professionals is invaluable. At the Globes, it was a real highlight for me to introduce our Premier Agents – winners of our Agent Excellence Awards in 2007.

Commenting on what has led them to success, they mentioned their good relationships with suppliers, product knowledge and the quality of their customer service.

If you think you have what it takes to be a Premier Agent, don’t hesitate to enter our awards this year, launching at the Midland Travel Trade Ball in Birmingham in May. I look forward to meeting you then!