TTAND Gears Up For 10th Anniversary Celebrations In 2024
About 100 VIP supplier partners were on hand at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto last night for the Travel Agent Next Door’s annual VIP Supplier Event.
Along with some high-powered networking, those attending the evening also got an update on all that’s new at TTAND and some of the developments in the pipeline for the coming year.
And 2024 is certainly a milestone year for The Travel Agent Next Door as it celebrates its 10th anniversary of operating an agency model that, from the outset, has defined itself as being different from the competition.
Over the course of the evening, those attending heard about TTAND’s progress from its founder, Flemming Friisdahl; how it keeps its agents happy from Penny Martin; and its latest marketing initiatives from Christine Ufniak.
Friisdahl also gave his audience a preview of TTAND’s plans for its 10th anniversary conference in Jordan in a video tour of the hotels and sites that were on the agenda for the event.
He noted that the 2024 conference “will be a unique experience” and clearly TTAND members agree as the event sold out in 47 seconds and now has 100 people on the waiting.
As for its celebration plans for its 10th anniversary in 2024, Friisdahl said that details on those will be released by the end of November.
Along with the update on TTAND’s activities and plans, the evening also had a couple of special moments.
An Educating Experience
One of the surprises of the evening was The Travel Institute announcement that The Travel Agent Next Door was the 2023 recipient of its annual Educational Excellence Award for the travel industry.
Established in 2022, the award from the non-profit education leader recognizes those organizations and individuals that demonstrate a significant, ongoing commitment to quality education for travel advisors and make a substantial, meaningful investment to ensure delivery of education to the ultimate benefit of travellers and the industry.
Diane Petras, CTIE, president of The Travel Institute, strategic travel education partner to TTAND, was on hand to present the award to TTAND’s Rhonda Stanley.
Petras said: “Congratulations to Rhonda and the entire training team at The Travel Agent Next Door; they have developed a winning program that supports their business, agents, suppliers, and very importantly, travellers. I applaud TTAND’s emphasis on ensuring qualified advisors to meet the ever-evolving needs of our industry; it’s truly a privilege to recognize and celebrate their success.”
Petras told the Toronto audience that TTAND’s comprehensive approach for agent education at various career stages, measurable objectives, and a holistic focus on business needs as well as agent well-being as key factors in the decision.
TTAND’s Stanley said that: “Everything we do ties to our mission, which is to provide MORE™ programs, MORE systems, and MORE™ support to ensure our ICs’ have limitless opportunities to grow their businesses. It’s an honor to receive this award from The Travel Institute as the longtime leader in agent education, and affirmation of the critical role our agent education truly plays in the success of our ICs.”
TTAND’s founder Flemming Friisdahl, who is also Stanley’s spouse, emphasized many factors impact TTAND’s growth and success.
Said Friisdahl: “It takes a village to create the relationships, programs and success we’ve achieved. Our team acknowledges our many strategic partners—including The Travel Institute for education; supplier partners for amazing products; and, of course, our agent partners, who believe in our business model—they all play a role in our shared success.”
The founder and president of Pencils for Kids, Robin Mednick was also on hand for the event, praising TTAND for its long commitment to the charitable organization which raises money for education in Niger.
Mednick pointed to the $60,000 that the agency group had raised during its Cancun conference and revealed that in the eight years that TTAND has been supporting Pencils for Kids, its efforts have raised over $233,000 for the charity.
In closing, Friisdahl told his audience: “We’re proud of our model. We believe in our partners and we’re here to support you, just as you’re here to support us.”
TOP Photo Caption
Seen here, from l to r, are Diane Petras, CTIE, President of The Travel Institute presenting the 2023 Educational Excellence Award to Rhonda Stanley, VP Talent Development at the Travel Agent Next Door, along with Guida Botelho, Senior Director, Education at The Travel Institute.
Flemming and Michael Friisdahl with Elvi Cal