Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Oct 14, 2019

It’s all about creating that WOW Experience

Transat Distribution Canada:


It’s all about the WOW these days at Transat Distribution Canada (TDC).

As Louise Fecteau will tell you, she has no doubt that retail travel professionals will be around for a long, long time just as long as “they provide their customer with a different experience – a WOW experience.”

Fecteau, who is TDC’s general manager, explained that by finding that WOW, travel professionals will be able to increase their business with existing clients, while generating additional business with new clients – all by offering them something different.

In fact, during its recent Mission Possible conferences in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver this fall, TDC offered its members WOW Effect and Storytelling training sessions designed to help them understand how to go about creating that WOW for their customers.

The point of all this, Fecteau told Canadian Travel Press, is because success in the retail travel business today – and moving into the future – is all about being laser-focused on the customer experience.

Now don’t misunderstand, Fecteau is clearly aware that all of this involves change as travel professionals today “have to know more than before” because travellers are going on the Web before they come into the agency. In many cases, they know exactly the same thing that the travel professional knows.

And, as a result, travel professionals have to be exceptionally well trained and provide their customers with a different sales experience.

Selling differently

Said Fecteau: “They have to sell differently and find a way to convince people to book with them because it’s a whole experience – before they book; during the booking process; during the trip; and, of course, when they are back.”

The key, TDC’s GM said is to show the client that “they [the travel professional] can support them from the beginning until the end.”

She continued: “That’s the big difference, because it’s difficult for a customer to find something on the Web – it can be a nightmare. You look at a three-star hotel and a five-star hotel on the Web, and it’s exactly the same. It looks good, but you have to know the product. You have to see the product to sell better, and this is the difference the consultant can provide.”

And that’s how TDC trains its travel professionals.

Fecteau points to the wide range of training academies it offers them – everything from Cruises to Sales – explaining that: “We train people on product, but also on differentiation and on customer experience. And we’ve just launched one for 2020, with a focus on Luxury Product and Customer Experience.”

TDC certainly knows the value of training as it has been conducting research with a Mystery Shopper organization for the past year in 150 of its agencies across the country; and it also conducts regular consumer research to gauge the kind of experience that customers receive.

Solving the mystery

Of the Mystery Shopper initiative, Susan Bowman, vice-president marketing & industry relations of TDC, said that while she has seen other companies conduct forms of research, “I have not seen it done to this extent anywhere.”

Bowman continued that along with the Mystery Shopper initiative with TDC members, “we also do consumer surveys and we’re testing all the time for similar attributes. We ask consumers; did you enjoy your experience with our service? Were they [the consultants] knowledgeable and helpful? With the two sets of data, we have a very good picture of our customer experience, and we use this in our extensive training.”

All of that underlines TDC’s fall conference theme of Mission Possible, as Fecteau told CTP: “The real mission is to provide our travel professionals with the best training to help them to provide the best and most unique experience to their customer.”

A good network

It all appears to be paying off as Fecteau will tell you that lots of consumers are choosing to book their travel through TDC agencies with our travel professionals.

As for why, she’ll tell you that: “First, it’s a good network and our brands have been around for a long time – so it’s well known by consumers. We have good, well-trained travel professionals and good marketing.”

That marketing, Fecteau said lets consumers know that TDC agencies are there and why they should book using one of them.”

So what’s the message from TDC?

It’s a question that doesn’t take Fecteau long to answer. “I truly believe that with the team we have everywhere in Canada we will continue to succeed, and we will provide to our agencies and their customers with the unique experience that they are looking for.”

Stay tuned, there will be lots more to come from Transat Distribution.