Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) welcomed close to 150 travel professionals from its network to its first face-to-face Regional Conference in three years.
“Rebound” was the theme of the event which brought the TDC community together with its preferred partners in Toronto over the weekend just passed.
Karine Gagnon, General Manager of Transat Distribution Canada, observed that: “The Regional Conference has always been a tradition within the TDC network, and we were all eager to get together after two years of virtual conferences. The theme we chose is very promising for us because it involves multiple facets.”
Gagnon continued: “First, we see that the industry as a whole is already rebounding and has been for the past few months. The travel professionals in our network, whether they are franchisees, affiliates, corporate agencies or agent@home, all say that travellers are returning in a way they haven’t seen for a long time, which is positive.”
“But for us, to rebound also means getting a firm footing so that we can gain momentum and go even further. To do this, we want to equip our members with the tools they need to meet their current challenges,” said TDC’s general manager.
The event kicked off with a day dedicated exclusively to the owners of Marlin Travel, Travel Plus and Affiliate agencies, allowing them to reflect together along with the TDC network’s management team, at a higher level.
Karine Gagnon and Joseph Adamo, President of TDC and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Transat, gave an update on the state of the industry, TDC and Transat. A representative from Virtuoso, a world leader in the luxury market that TDC’s LuxeXpert certified travel professionals can join, explained how the luxury market, a very lucrative segment, can help travel agencies do better in this recovery.
Said Gagnon: “Everything surrounding workforce management and employee shortages is a hot topic, so we brought in recruitment and H.R. experts to brainstorm with our owners in a facilitated workshop to try to think outside the box in how they manage recruitment, motivation and retention of their employees.”
And she said that “in the afternoon, we reviewed the marketing ecosystem offered by the TDC network, explaining in more detail to our owners how all the programs we offer can be valuable allies that they should make the most of to benefit from the recovery.”
Gagnon noted that: “Things have moved very quickly since March 2020, and we want to make sure our members are familiar with all the new tools and programs TDC has developed for them in the past two years, whether it’s the TDC Campus online training program, the Xpress marketing platform, the LuxeXpert program, etc.”
There was certainly lots to motivate those attending, with TDC’s general manager observing that: “After all the upheaval we’ve been through, it was vital for us to re-energize our members, and we’re doing so in a number of ways.”
She said that the “first, speaker, Sylvie Thiffault, talked about post-pandemic client relations, and especially equips travel professionals to deal with what she called the ‘emotional bombs’ that clients sometimes throw at us. Insurance, of course, is an even more important part of travel in 2022, and Manulife provides practical sales tips that reflect the new reality of travel and the needs associated with it.”
Of course, a TDC regional conference wouldn’t be the same without the traditional Saturday evening event, presented by Transat.
Said Gagnon: “Everyone looks forward to this event because the energy it brings is unparalleled and it’s doing us all a world of good this year.”
She went on to say that “the regional conference ended on a high note on Sunday at noon with two great events. First, a major recognition session, to acknowledge the fact that what the industry as a whole experienced was extraordinary, so we want to give our travel professionals a moment to truly realize how extraordinary each of them is.”
And she added: “The weekend ended on a [humourous] note, with the motivational words of comedian and author Susan Stewart, who shared a few ways we can meet our challenges with confidence, resilience, and a sense of humour.”
Gagnon concluded: “We are fortunate to be able to count on the presence of more than fifty of our preferred partners, present to discuss with travel professionals what’s new in their offers. The changes have come thick and fast in the last few years, so everyone needs to take a little time to assimilate and have everything in hand to be able to Rebound.”
For more on TDC, check out the interview with Karine Gagnon in CANADIAN TRAVEL PRESS.
Photos by Dan Galbraith