Travel agents are integral to our business Deals and more to celebrate

first_img Wednesday, May 3, 2017 Tags: Promotions, Travel Agent Day Share Posted by Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — Tour operators including Transat, Air Canada Vacations, Goway and more are showing their appreciation for their retail partners with prizes and incentives in celebration of Travel Agent Day.With Transat, three travel agents will win a seven-night all inclusive vacation to one of these Karisma resorts: Azul Beach Resort The Fives Playa del Carmen, by Karisma; El Dorado Royale; and El Dorado Seaside Suites. In addition, agents will earn $30 Bonbon rewards on South, Europe and cruise packages. Three agents will earn $150 Bonbon rewards on all their bookings. For more information, consult Get Connected.Air Canada Vacations is giving away 10,000 ACV&ME points to three agents and five $250 gift cards. “Our trade partners are vital to our business, growth and success,” said George Platanitis, Vice President, Sales & Partnerships, Air Canada Vacations. “We value our partnerships and focus on celebrating and honouring agents throughout the year.”Agents can sign up for the ACV&ME loyalty program at aircanadavacations.com/agents to be automatically entered in the draw. The winners will be announced on May 31.Club Med has launched a special contest to thank its travel partners for their involvement, expertise and loyalty. From May 3 – 17 using the Club Med Check app agents are invited to test and improve their knowledge of the brand and face off against colleagues and fellow travel agents through mini-games for the chance to win a Club Med getaway. The agent who gets the highest aggregate score will win a seven-night stay for two at Club Med.“The launch of this application is a great opportunity to give life to our new signature ‘Club Med, Amazing You’, specifically to our travel partners” said Jacinda Lowry, National Sales Director, Club Med. “We want to thank them and reward their knowledge of Club Med with this contest, available through an innovative and intuitive program. We are going to amaze you!”Agents can download Club Med Check app available through the Apple Store and Google Play. Agents enter their email address and create a password, then enter the code: AGAN and start the game.Club Med also says agents can subscribe to its travel agent-dedicated website, clubmedagents.ca, as well as the Club Med Agents’ Facebook page: facebook/clubmed.english for contest details.Goway is sending coffee cards to all agents who book and deposit a Goway package May 3 -5. All agents who book in this period will also go into the draw to win a ‘Spa Day.’ One winner will be chosen.In a world of online this and “there’s an app for that”, today’s client is often lost in options, some of which are highly questionable, says Goway. That’s where the value of a travel agent lives. “Travel agents are integral to our business,” says company founder Bruce Hodge.  “We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. At Goway, we work with agents from all over North America from small home-based agencies to large consortia. The most successful agents we have seen are those who take the time to learn what their clients are really looking for, never stop learning themselves, and are truly passionate about what they do but sometimes their efforts go unrecognized.”Porter Airlines has launched a month-long contest in honour of Travel Agent Day on May 3, to recognize travel agents for their commitment to passengers and to Porter. “Travel agents represent our brand and support our passengers throughout the travel experience. They are an essential part of our success,” says Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTTravel agents can register their Porter and Porter Escapes bookings on flyporter.com/agent from May 3 – 31 for the chance to win prizes including one of three weekly prizes of 25,000 VIPorter loyalty points, and one of two grand prizes of a weekend getaway for two to New York or Toronto (includes Porter flights for two, hotel stay and more). Weekly winners will be randomly selected on May 10, 17 and 24. Grand prize winners will be randomly selected on June 8. Travel agents must have a valid IATA or TICO number registered with Porter Airlines or Porter Escapes.In addition to the contest, Porter is providing travel agents, along with a companion, 30% off their next Porter flight. Book May 3 – 24 for travel completed by June 28.Totalstay has a two-fold incentive for agents. All agents who make a totalstay booking May 3 – 10 will have their names entered into a draw to win a 1-night hotel stay in the Canadian destination of their choice. Also during this time, agents who find one of 150 maple leaves hidden on the totalstay.com website have a chance to win a Canadian-themed gift basket in a prize draw. Totalstay has some 165,000 hotels and 10,000 destinations. Agents can log into their account at totalstay.com to check availability and to book online, or speak to doreen.lynch@totalstay.com for more information.Now in its sixth year, Travel Agent Day has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Colleen Lorenzen’s office in Saskatoon. As the agent credited with coming up with the idea in the first place, Lorenzen, Operations Manager at Uniglobe Carefree Travel, says that Travel Agent Day was actually inspired by another group of professionals – secretaries.“One day our sales rep from Staples came in and was giving everyone a carnation for Secretary Day, and I thought if secretaries can have a day then so can we,” she says. “As a manager, we are always looking for ways to thank our staff for the great work that they do.”Before it was widely recognized as ‘Travel Agent Day’ in 2011, Lorenzen – who at the time sat on the board for the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors (CITC) – acknowledged the hard work of her agents each year on the first Wednesday in March by bringing in lunch, flowers and the like. Word of Lorenzen’s efforts spread to other CITC members, who all asked if they could do the same thing in their own offices. And the rest, as they say, is history.“Because I didn’t have a budget to get the word out, I started a Facebook page,” says Lorenzen, “and then at our Uniglobe Conference, I started to talk about it to suppliers and emailed them to let them know about TAD. Some of our suppliers took to the idea right away while others came onboard each year.”Today, Lorenzen’s Facebook page has close to 3,000 likes and features a steady stream of relevant industry tips and stories, exclusive agent offers, and humourous memes and videos. Open to anyone, facebook.com/TravelAgentDay is used to “promote the value of travel agents,” says Lorenzen, who also encourages agencies to post pictures of how their offices are celebrating TAD.“I think that some people don’t really know what it is that we do and it’s our job to let them know what we can do for them and why they should use us,” she adds. “Our suppliers are great and they continue to support us as they know that we’re on the frontlines selling their products.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”In fact, many of them take TAD beyond just one day, launching agent-exclusive offers throughout the month and, in some cases, throughout the year. TravelBrands has launched a nine-month campaign that includes a monthly draw for 100,000 Loyalty points and a grand prize of one million points. Air Canada Vacations is also celebrating agents with double the ACV&ME loyalty points on Canada and Europe bookings for the entire month of May, while The Travel Corporation will be treating some of its top agents to a celebration event on May 3.Anytime the travel industry takes notice of its frontline agents is a good thing, says Marco Pozzobon, Director, Marking, Communications and Partnerships at the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), especially since the Internet and OTAs are still taking a significant chunk of market share. But he says that consumers are now returning to agents, whose role in the industry remains as relevant as ever.“There may have been a brief period in recent history when most consumers believed travel agents were no longer needed. But we’ve seen that attitude starting to change,” he says. Even more, adds Pozzobon, the fact that we are living in the age of information makes travel agents more relevant than ever. “They’re able to cut through the clutter of the Internet, qualify the customer and propose customized itineraries while guaranteeing the best return on the investment.”The Internet will never go away, but there is a way for agents to co-exist with it and carve out their own niche, says Joe Gyuro of Kelowna, a former agent, general manager and co-owner of Mission Park Travel. He envisions a “new world order” where a compromise can be reached so that agents still have a role in the marketplace. “Maybe no longer doing simple transactions, point to point,” he notes, “but evolving into true professionals who can handle complex arrangements.”Gyuro says that as fewer agents will be needed, their expertise will have to be of a higher standard. This involves recognizing where they are the strongest and doing their best to gain that market share.“This could be complex international travel, adventure travel, special experiences travel, group travel or special needs travel. They must make contacts with similar parties around the world and use those contacts to make their travel arrangements unique and memorable. That will lead to repeat business and world of mouth acclaim,” he adds.The travel industry will continue to change, as Gyuro has seen throughout his illustrious 40-year career. “However, as the public sees how complex their arrangements can be, there will always be a segment who sees the value in guidance. There will always be a core group who would rather have an expert do what needs to be done than do it themselves.”And as long as there are travel agents there will always be Travel Agent Day, if Lorenzen has her way. She hopes to see TAD evolve to the point where it becomes part of the yearly calendar (“like Mother’s Day”), which would be the ultimate acknowledgement of a profession that many still believe is becoming obsolete.“The job is much harder than it used to be as we need to know more and stay on top of things that are happening around the world,” she says. “But travel agents will always adapt and continue to get better in this fast moving industry.” “Travel agents are integral to our business”: Deals and more to celebrate Travel Agent Daylast_img

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