Entrepreneur, business strategist and leisure travel marketing expert Frank Orlando, founder of BranchUp and former president of Travelwatch, has passed away.
Orlando, who lived in Collingwood, Ont., with his wife Michelle Pinard, also well known in the travel industry, died July 5 at the age of 63. His extensive travel career included time with Regent Holidays, Thomson Vacations, CP Air Holidays, Skylark Holidays and Sharp’s Travel.
Orlando was passionate about the importance of personal marketing for the travel professional and after serving in a variety of executive positions in the hotel, retail and wholesale travel sector founded Travelwatch Inc., which publishes personalized eNewsletters that connect travel agents to their customers. In 2017, it was acquired by partner BranchUp where Orlando and Pinard continued in supplier relations and content production roles.
Orlando is fondly remembered by many in the industry.
Longtime friend Sue Webb, president of VoX International, described Orlando as a true Renaissance man.
“I have been blessed to have been friends with Frank Orlando for many, many years, thanks to the travel industry.
“Frank started his career in sales at Skylark, but later moved to the product development department where he was happiest. Negotiating hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico was his passion. He worked for some of Canada’s leading tour operators as well as a hotel company, Sears Travel and finally his entrepreneurial spirit prevailed and he launched Travelwatch with his wife and business partner, Michelle Pinard.
“Everyone that met Frank couldn’t resist becoming friends with him. His quick wit, infectious giggle and incredible Latin charm was hard to forget. He loved good music, good food, good wine, good books and good scotch.
“One of his most wonderful assets was maintaining friendships – his best friends today have been his best friends for over 40 years since he moved to Canada and most of them he met in the crazy travel industry he loved. Frank was the most loyal friend anyone could wish for.
“The travel industry has lost a true gentleman who will never be forgotten.”
Another close friend, Kim Clarke, of the Globus family of brands, said, “Frank was the best. One of my dearest friends. A true Renaissance man who greatly valued the finer things in life – art, history and literature and yet, when it was time to play, Frank was at the head of the line and the last to leave. The world needs more Franks and without him it is a lesser place.”
Doreen Lynch, director of membership at ACTA, said, “What can I say about Frank? Throughout my career Frank and I seemed to be always crossing paths. His passion for working alongside travel agents continued to be a thread that brought us together over the years. He was always willing to brainstorm with me on ideas that enhanced and improved the travel agent message in the eyes of the consumer. I will certainly fondly remember Frank’s generosity and ability to enjoy life with humour and kindness.”
A Celebration of Life will be held for Frank on Sept. 6, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the R.S. Kane Funeral Home, 6150 Yonge St., Toronto.