Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Apr 29, 2019

Best Partners Ever!

Suppliers have high praise for agents


(Photo above: Old Havana is always popular with visitors.)

Tourist boards and tour operators alike are singing the praises of this country’s travel agents, saying the work they do is nothing less than invaluable.

With May 1 Travel Agent Day looming, agents’ travel industry counterparts are eager to show their appreciation for those who direct clients their way on a daily basis.

“Travel agents are uniquely positioned to articulate to consumers what Autentica Cuba is all about,” says Eloy Govea, director of the Cuba Tourist Board’s English – Canada office. “Autentica Cuba is not just about inventories and cold facts, it’s about passion and energy; and we feel very thankful for travel agents because they capture and embrace that Cuba spirit and transmit it like no one else and nothing else could.

“At the same time, travel agents provide incredibly valuable feedback that helps us keep moving forward and in the right path.

Absolutely crucial
“They are the keystone of this industry and we want to be as close to them as possible, providing the information and tools necessary to support their work.”
Pascal Prinz, Canadian director for Switzerland Tourism, agrees that agents are indispensable.

“The travel trade is crucial for us. Thank you for selling Switzerland,” he says noting Canadian visitations to his homeland are on the upswing and crediting agents for much of the 9.4% increase in Canadian overnights Switzerland saw in 2018.

Switzerland has numerous incentives for agents, among them the Swiss Travel Pass Superstar Program, which it’s partnering with Rail Europe on and which Prinz labels a “wonderful fam trip learning and sales incentive program.

Photo courtesy of ANDRE GALLANT

Another offering from Switzerland Tourism is the Switzerland Travel Academy, which enables an agent to “become a Switzerland expert. “You get certified but the best is you get a Swiss Travel Pass to experience our scenic trains on your own,” Prinz points out.

Switzerland Tourism also hosts webinars and fam trips.

Primary channel
Jeff Element, president of The Travel Corporation Canada’s operation, labels travel agents “very important” to his company. “They are our primary channel to share our message and their expertise never fails to connect clients to their dream vacation.”

“We consider advisors to be our No.1 ambassador, whether sharing news and updates about our family of brands or singing our praise to everyone. Approximately 87% of our business comes through travel advisors, so we cannot emphasize how much we at The Travel Corporation appreciate their support and, most importantly, friendship!”
The Travel Corporation Canada has about 20 people whose sole job is to drive around every day to meet with travel advisors, both long-time partners and those new to the industry, Element reports.

He cites other ways The Travel Corporation reaches out to agents, among them the TTC Agent Academy, which has training modules for advisors, some product-based and others being “general skills for selling as an advisor and basic advisor training tools, and most of TTC’s individual brands have brand-specific advisor academies as well.”

Element points out that The Travel Corporation also provides “discounted travel on our products [for agents], so it’s easier for them to have the authentic experience which they can portray to their clients.

“We at TTC strive to be the best partner possible for travel advisors in every way so their experience working with us is always seamless,” he adds.

Agents of change
Shayna Zand, business development manager for Intrepid Travel in the Americas, says that company’s appreciation for agents is never-ending.

“Today and every day we celebrate the important role travel agents play in Intrepid’s growth and our genuine appreciation for the work they do every day to help us sell a style of travel that ‘Changes the Way People See the World,’” Zand states.

“Personally, I have the pleasure of working with many travel agents in North America who have been brand advocates and educated their clients on Intrepid’s products. Thank you to all the travel agents. I speak for the entire team when I say we are appreciative and thankful for you and the work you do.”

Richard Zarkin, spokesman for the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau, says that tourist board is always grateful to agents.

“Much of our success in positioning Riviera Nayarit as a favorite within the Mexican Pacific is due to the hard work of our many collaborators, including travel agents from across the globe. For the Riviera Nayarit CVB, travel agents are an extension of our team. We pay particular attention into building and continuously strengthening our relationship with them and want to ensure they have all the necessary resources to be successful in selling what we have to offer on the travel market.”

“In addition to participating in major travel agent forums and offering fam trips that help increase knowledge on Riviera Nayarit’s offerings, we provide them with training, workshops and seminars to help them stay abreast of the latest destination news. Our website is also uniquely designed to serve as the perfect tool for agents to access travel deals, experiences, events and much more at any given time.”

Matthew James Bradley-Swan, Adventure Canada’s business development director, says that company appreciates travel agent expertise.

“At Adventure Canada, we’re so grateful for the work travel agents do to bring our product to life for so many of their clients, allowing them to take an unforgettable expedition with us. Through their expertise and experience, travel agents often give their clients that piece of mind they crave when booking a once-in-a-lifetime adventure – after all, a travel agent is always someone you want in your corner!

“We’re continuously working to make booking with us a seamless and straightforward experience for agents, particularly through our redesigned Partner Portal that allows access to digital versions of our promotional materials, pricing plans, deck plans, and registration forms. We look forward to continued success working with travel agents, and we thank them for all they do for Adventure Canada and our guests.”