Click Here to see more photos from the 2024 WAVE Awards

Click Here to read our special 2024 WAVE Winner’s Guide and view our winner’s thank you videos


Every year, the editorial team at TravelAge West, headed by Editor-in-Chief Ken Shapiro, reviews hundreds of travel suppliers and products. Review methods include product analysis, on-site visits, a travel agent survey and online research. After careful consideration, a list of “Editor’s Pick” nominees, in a variety of categories are confirmed.

Click here to see a list of the 2024 Editor's Picks

Click here to see a list of 2024 WAVE Award Winners

In honor of the WAVE Awards gala each year, the TravelAge West team creates an annual lighthearted video that celebrates our mutual love of travel advisors with a nod to the biggest trends in pop culture. For 2024, our team partnered with Carnival Cruise Line to bring some amazing “Ken-ergy” to WAVE. Take a look. 

WAVE Awards Voting

Nominees are then placed on an official WAVE ballot, which is printed in TravelAge West, posted online and promoted in email communications to travel agents throughout the United States.



The Editors Picks and WAVE Award winners are celebrated at a star-studded gala held in Los Angeles. The black tie gala brings together honorees and travel agents, and recognizes the outstanding qualities and services of the industry’s leading travel suppliers.

Excellence in Leadership

TravelAge West’s Excellence in Leadership Award celebrates a long-standing icon of the travel industry, and recognizes their lifelong commitment to the betterment of the industry.

Each year, TravelAge West honors individuals with the Excellence in Leadership Award. These exceptional industry leaders not only demonstrate outstanding leadership, insight and innovation, but also positively impact both their own organizations and the travel industry overall.

For 2024, TravelAge West is honored to present this award to two worthy recipients, John Lovell with Travel Leaders Group and Christopher Prelog with Windstar Cruises. In addition, a new Legend of the West award was presented to Craig Pavlus of Pavlus Travel.

John Lovell
President, Travel Leaders Group

John Lovell, CTC and President of Travel Leaders Group, a division of Internova Travel Group, is a travel industry veteran with more than two decades of executive experience. He’s a respected voice on trends and a leader in supporting the charitable needs of the travel community.

Based in Orlando, Florida, Lovell leads a division that generates gross travel sales approaching $21 billion annually. 

The division includes Internova’s consortia operation; its large host agency; and its wholly-owned cruise, leisure and specialty agencies. He oversees Travel Leaders Group’s partnerships with travel suppliers, including cruise lines, tour operators, car rental companies and travel insurance entities, working to strengthen their vital relationships with travel advisors.

As President of Travel Leaders Group, Lovell is also responsible for the strategic operations, sales, marketing and overall growth of Travel Leaders Network, one of the largest travel agency organizations in North America. 

Prior to his current role, which he took on in 2020, Lovell served as President, Leisure Travel, Supplier Relations & Networks for Travel Leaders Group and as President of, formerly the largest travel agency consortium in the U.S. In 2016, Travel Leaders Network was formed when Travel Leaders Franchise Group and merged. 

Before becoming President of in 2011, Lovell held several other positions within the company, including Vice President of Sales, Industry Relations and Revenue Management. He was originally hired in 2002 as Vice President of Sales and Business Development. 

Before that, Lovell held the position of Director of Travel Industry Sales at ANC Rental Corporation. He also worked as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Renaissance Travel Solutions. His first job in the travel industry was at The Hertz Corporation, serving as Regional Sales Manager for the state of Florida. Additionally, Lovell spent nine years at BAT Industries, working his way up to Director of Global Accounts for the tobacco giant while based in London. 

Lovell is recognized within the industry for his expertise on the growing popularity of travel advisors, as well as cruise and leisure travel trends and the retail travel business. But he is also a leader in connecting the travel industry with those in need at home and around the world.

In 2015, he founded the Family Bonds Foundation, the nonprofit giving arm of Travel Leaders Group that supports the charitable needs of those who work within the travel industry, as well as the broader community.


Christopher Prelog
President, Windstar Cruises 

Christopher Prelog is no stranger to the high seas — in fact, his career began more than 25 years ago onboard Seabourn Legend, when he was a waiter caring for passengers while still finding his own sea legs.

Today, Prelog continues to shepherd explorers from his seat as President of Windstar Cruises — and that is by design. While his first job on the ocean may have been rocky — the story goes that he wanted to quit, seasick and browbeaten, but that his father convinced him to stick it out — he found his footing and came to love the cruise world, where he continues to learn and grow as a leader and proud brand ambassador. 

“Our guests bond with our crew, which is a rare relationship in the hospitality industry,” Prelog said. “Our crew isn’t behind the curtain. They are center stage, friendly, and there to connect with our guests. It is not uncommon to see our returning guests and crew embracing each other like old friends. That’s what keeps them coming back, and it keeps me excited to come to work and foster these relationships while also taking our guests to some of the best destinations on the planet.” 

Whether they’re onboard a Windstar ship or working on land, the brand team is 

Prelog’s biggest motivator, he says. Advisors are included — Prelog recognizes the strength of the travel advisor community, and the role they play in influencing  travelers to try out new places and products. 

“Not a day passes by when I am not in touch with an advisor,” he said. “I recently sailed with a group of our top 50 advisors so we could engage in an honest conversation about how Windstar can improve, hear what their clients want and generally get to know each other better. Because really, the best part of this work is the relationships we have.”

And Prelog’s personal history onboard ships informs his decisions regularly. He prioritizes hiring executives and other team members who have been at sea themselves, too. Building a team with ample onboard experience has made the Windstar team “humble, extremely guest-centric and focused on problem anticipation,” Prelog says. 

While cruising may be a slower and more tranquil way to travel, Prelog is up for a bit of adrenaline pumping every now and then. When Prelog takes a break from his deck (or desk), it’s possible he’s cheering on Formula 1 racers, queuing up for a roller coaster or getting behind the wheel of a fast car. 

He shares his adventures through his Instagram account (@christopherprelog).

“It’s become a fun way to connect with the world, share my experiences and engage with the larger cruise and travel community,” he said.  

Craig Pavlus
CEO and Founder, Pavlus Travel

Craig organized Pavlus Travel 28 years ago after a remarkable 26-year career with TWA serving as Senior Vice President of Marketing, President of TWA Getaway Vacations and President of The Travel Channel. A constant innovator, Craig recognized the Internet in its infancy as the vehicle to market travel to the best places at the best prices to clients throughout the world. Now Pavlus Travel is recognized as one the foremost luxury travel companies worldwide with revenues exceeding $110 million dollars annually. Craig who served on the City of Albuquerque Animal Shelter Board is a an active contributor to Animal Shelter Organizations throughout the United States.



Marketing Center

TravelAge West congratulates all its Editors Picks nominees and provides a variety of tools to help them promote their nomination.

Sample press releases and official WAVE Award logos are available to all nominees. Download your materials in our WAVE marketing center now.