While in the planning process for the second annual Amazing Agent Celebration, the team behind AMR Collection came up with an idea that would make their inaugural BeAmazing Awards stand out.
“Everyone attending is already top performers. We wanted to do something different [from other top performer events]. It’s not about who did the most groups or who did the most sales,” Mark Benson, senior director of sales strategy at AMResorts explained during the four-day event held at Dreams Vista Cancun Golf & Spa Resort from Dec. 1-4. “These agents have gone above and beyond in the industry for things like women’s mentorship or sustainability initiatives. For example, one Canadian honouree has done some of the most phenomenal marketing and outreach, and creative social media work that I’d ever seen. It was brave to be quite honest.”
After extensive research on remarkable travel advisors across North America, the list was narrowed down to six final honourees who were recognized during a special gala dinner on Dec. 3, with none of the agents knowing ahead of time that they’d be in the spotlight.
And the winners are…
The first Canadian award was presented to Tannis Dyrland, the owner of Travel With Tannis, for exceptional achievement in creativity and innovation in travel. Carolina Bellina, senior director of Canadian sales for AMResorts described her as “never one to take a global pandemic lying down.”
Calgary-based Dyrland is the force behind the Fu*ck-it List, a campaign based around a list of 12 destinations with itineraries designed to inspire clients to travel again, and Mile High Cocktails, conveniently sized cocktail kits with ingredients to make specialty drinks on the go, two ventures that came to be during the pandemic.
“With nearly 60 visited countries combined with 13 years of running her multimillion dollar travel business, she steps outside of her comfort zone, thinks outside the travel agent box and finds creative ways to engage with her community,” Bellina said during the awards presentation. “Every week she injects the perfect dose of storytelling, humour and professional expertise sharing her travel experiences, tips and ticks during her podcast wishing to provide insight for your next travel adventure.”
Speaking with PressToday after receiving her award, Dyrland said, “What a beautiful night and what an honour to be recognized by my industry. This past year has been about doing things differently and making a mark in the industry. I feel like I set out and successfully accomplished what I wanted to do for 2021.”
Chris Rollinson, co-president and general manager of Vancouver-based escapes.ca, took home the second Canadian award, for exceptional achievement in sustainability and environmental initiatives.
“With 19 years of experience, this honouree’s passion for travel started at a young age and over the years it’s taken him around the world backpacking through 10 countries in Africa to cruising up the Amazon River in Brazil. He believes ones of the main reasons people travel is to explore the many different and amazing areas of this planet,” said Claudio Zboznovits, VP of global sales & business development. “A big part of what makes up these different areas around the globe is the unique flora and fauna that occupy them. Helping to preserve and protest is central to this honouree’s belief system, which is why at escapes.ca working through the Eden Project, a tree is planted for every online vacation package booked.”
Through Eden Reforestation Projects, escapes.ca has planted 100,000 trees to date.
“It was certainly an honour to receive this award and very touching and inspiring to be recognized for this by AMResorts,” Rollinson told PressToday. “Our industry benefits from the beauty of our planet and the wonderful communities and cultures around the world. We feel it’s extremely important to do what we can to give back and support the plant as well as the global community as best we can through organizations such as the Eden Reforestation Project.”
The other four awards went to:
- Krystal Aziz, Director of Operations, Modern Travelworks, and Tim Evans, President, Modern Travelworks, for inspiring and promoting give-back initiatives in communities around the world.
- Jennifer Doncsecz, Owner/President, VIP Vacations, for inspiring and mentoring women’s leadership in the travel industry.
- Jill LaBarre, Vice President Business Development, Oasis Travel Network, for partnership and insight in developing exceptional commercial relationships.
Out of 85 travel advisors in attendance, 19 were Canadian:
- Megan Baugh, Baconko Travels
- Sharon Boissonneault, House of Travel
- Veronique Capra, Voyages Bergeron
- Marjorie Dejong, Transat Travel Peterborough
- Ashley Doell, TPI
- Tannis Dyrland, Travel With Tannis
- Sarah Griffiths, Flight Centre Groups Canada
- Laurie Keith, Romantic Planet Vacations
- Luc Lacroix, Voyages Fontainebleau
- Manon Langelier, Les Voyages Laurier du Vallon
- Michelle Loran, Vacations Away Inc.
- Steve Marcotte, Voyages Terre et Monde
- Jamie Milton, Uniglobe Carefree Travel
- Steve Moore, Liz Moore Destination Weddings
- Susanne Rogers, CAA South Central Ontario
- Chris Rollinson, Skyland Travel Inc. / escapes.ca
- Al Valente, Valente Travel Inc.
- Richard Villeneuve, Voyages en direct
- Darlene Wipp, Nexion Canada
In the photos:
- Al Valente, Valente Travel Inc.; Veronique Capra, Voyages Bergeron; Richard Villeneuve, Voyages en direct; Carolina Bellina, AMResorts; Luc Lacroix, Voyages Fontainebleau; and Steve Marcotte, Voyages Terre et Monde
- Carlo Trinidad, AMResorts; Chris Rollinson, escapes.ca; and Carolina Bellina, AMResorts
- Carolina Bellina, AMResorts; Tannis Dyrland, Travel With Tannis; and Carlo Trinidad, AMResorts
- Jamie Milton, Uniglobe Carefree Travel; Tannis Dyrland, Travel With Tannis; and Ashley Doell, TPI
- The AMResorts team: Mark Benson, senior director sales strategy; Carolina Bellina, senior director of Canadian sales; Erica Doyne, SVP marketing & communications; Eileen Herncane, senior marketing manager B2B and Louie Alvarado, director, communications & strategic partnerships.