Appreciating and celebrating advisors on Travel Agent Day is particularly noteworthy this year…
There’s no shortage of appreciation being shown to travel agents on the verge of this year’s Travel Agent Day on May 6.
The first Wednesday in May always sees tributes to this country’s travel agents and those tributes have never been resonating more than they are now, given the way agents have been forced to scramble to re-accommodate clients whose travel plans were suddenly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The admirable way agents have risen to the challenge hasn’t gone unnoticed by consumers and suppliers as well.
And so here are just a few of the heartfelt expressions of support for you:
Travel advisors are the oxygen of our industry and crucial for us. The role of travel advisors is more important than ever before. The COVID-19 crisis has clearly shown us: Algorithms can never replace the quality, the human intelligence and the agility of travel advisors.
Pascal Prinz says the coronavirus crisis clearly underscores the importance of travel agents to tourist boards and other facets of the travel industry.
“Travel advisors are the oxygen of our industry and crucial for us,” says Prinz, Switzerland Tourism’s director for Canada and trade manager for Central USA. “The role of travel advisors is more important than ever before. The COVID-19 crisis has clearly shown us: Algorithms can never replace the quality, the human intelligence and the agility of travel advisors. We can’t wait for this crisis to be over and to meet travel advisors again. This is our top priority.”
Prinz says his office will be reaching out to agents, “with our best Swiss suppliers. We’re planning a roadshow to meet our key accounts in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in October as part of our recovery plan.” He adds that, “our Switzerland Travel Academy offers excellent training. I invite you today to use this time to take our e-learning, participate in our fun webinars and to become certified at myswitzerland.com/trade. More training means more business. In addition, our dedicated service centre based in North America is offering free advice for travel advisors.”
Prinz says the travelling public should be appreciative of the services travel agents can provide, noting his homeland is famed for its spectacular train rides. Travel advisors know which is the best ticket for which client and how to organize luggage transfers, he points out. Therefore, travel advisors truly help their clients to get the best value for their money, he continues.
“At Switzerland Tourism, we have a long tradition of fostering a strong partnership with travel advisors,” Prinz adds. “They are our allies and ‘yodel’ across Canada why Switzerland is an excellent choice for their clients. Our continued growth in Canada in the past 10 years has shown that our focus on travel advisors clearly works.”
Our travel partners mean the world to us. "Adventure Canada and our travellers rely on the experience and expertise of travel advisors to ensure safe and rewarding journeys. In these times, the value of travel advisors shines more than ever through the wealth of their knowledge, connections, and communities.
Adventure Canada says travel agents are hugely important at the best of times and even more so now that these aren’t the best of times.
“Our travel partners mean the world to us,” says the company’s director of business development MJ Swan. “Adventure Canada and our travellers rely on the experience and expertise of travel advisors to ensure safe and rewarding journeys. In these times, the value of travel advisors shines more than ever through the wealth of their knowledge, connections, and communities.”
Adventure Canada — likely best known for its Arctic sailings — in turn reaches out to agents through different ways.
“We support our travel advisors by providing sales tools, product training, reservation resources, marketing materials, and first-hand experience of our expeditions,” Swan says. “We offer a variety of rewards as recognition of the immense amount of hard work travel advisors invest in our products. Among these, we offer special travel advisor rates to travel with Adventure Canada.”
Offerings to agents can be found at: https://www.adventurecanada.com/travel-agents.
Meanwhile, Swan’s using this forum to deliver a personal message to the travel agency community.
“On behalf of Adventure Canada and the entire travel industry – thank you travel advisors! You are part of the Adventure Canada family and it’s a pleasure to work with you.”
For successfully marketing a destination on the Canadian market, travel agents play an important role for educating clients on the destination and for making sure clients can enjoy their dream vacation from beginning to end.
There’s no question in Julia Dywelski’s mind that travel agents play an invaluable coast-to-coast role for her employer and her counterparts with other tourist boards.
Dywelski, director of the German National Tourist Office in Canada, says she and her counterparts rely heavily on agents to generate interest in their destinations.
“Travel agents have always been an integral and vital part of the Canadian travel industry and consequently for tourism boards across the board,” she states. “For Germany as a destination, we have always valued the support, interest in and enthusiasm that travel agents have shown for Germany. For successfully marketing a destination on the Canadian market, travel agents play an important role for educating clients on the destination and for making sure clients can enjoy their dream vacation from beginning to end.”
Dywelski says it’s important for her office to find the right mix of education and informing travel advisors on the destination.
“While probably everyone knows about the Christmas markets, Neuschwanstein castle, amazing German beer and wine as well as our top destinations, we try to enhance their knowledge with off-the-beaten-path destinations in Germany, niche products and trying to develop tailor-made itineraries to present their clients,” she says. “Is your client looking for a beer-making workshop in Bavaria or a wellness retreat on the coast of Germany or a culinary tour through Nuremberg? We help establish contacts in the destination to put together the best possible product for your client.”
She is confident that the bond between her office and the travel agency community is an unbreakable one.
“Who could be a better partner than the experts, knowing their clients’ wishes for the best time of the year (vacation time),” she says. “We have an opportunity to support agents with education and information on the destination and indirectly be part of their clients’ vacation. If their eyes lit up when they experienced the magic of the Christmas markets in Germany, as mine do every time I visit, I think we have accomplished a lot and that shows the value that the trade brings to destination marketing in Canada. The trade is intertwined with our marketing efforts and we want to make sure that they know that we are here for them and appreciate their work a lot.”
Let me start by saying, there has never been a more defining moment for travel agents than right now. I'm sure we’ve all read the stories about the lengths agents are going to to ensure a client’s destination wedding, dream honeymoon or once-in-a-lifetime family vacation would still be reality once travel resumes.
The ties that bind between the travel agency community and Premier Worldwide Marketing, LLC, are showing no signs of fraying at this time and nor will they for the foreseeable future at least.
Marilyn Cairo, associate vice-president of sales in North America for a company best-known for its upscale all-inclusives on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, says her employer has been eager to have a close relationship with agents since Day 1.
“Simply said, travel agents are a critical component of our overall business model; they always have been and that will not change,” she states. “Our commitment to agents spans over a decade and is rooted in our agent loyalty program: Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant (GIVC). The program is designed to recognize and reward agents for their sales support of Karisma Hotels Resorts. The GIVC program quickly grew within the industry because of our level of support within the travel agent community and above all, our unwavering commitment for our GIVC. Moving forward, that commitment will only get stronger. In everything we do, one of our top priorities is to identify the benefits for agents and especially, our GIVC. The level of agent engagement we have experienced over the last decade goes above that of a traditional business relationship – it’s a true partnership. Our agent priorities start with the benefits of our GIVC program, some of which include increased commission, co-op marketing support, added values for clients, the ability to enjoy our resorts, and more. We are proud to say that this year the GIVC program will undergo a refresh and revamp; our agents are always top-of-mind, all-the-time, and we look forward to expanding our network, particularly in Canada.”
Meanwhile, Cairo says seeing how agents have responded to travel disruptions resulting from the coronavirus crisis has been a moving experience and she’s looking forward to a travel industry rebound that she confidently predicts will have agents at the forefront.
“Let me start by saying, there has never been a more defining moment for travel agents than right now,” she says. “I’m sure we’ve all read the stories about the lengths agents are going to to ensure a client’s destination wedding, dream honeymoon or once-in-a-lifetime family vacation would still be reality once travel resumes. In many cases, agents have even helped clients who hadn’t originally booked with them. Everyone refers to current times as unprecedented – I prefer to use the term unprecedented to describe the comeback this industry will make; and leading the way will be the travel agents alongside suppliers. So yes, travel agents are and will always be a priority for Karisma Hotels & Resorts.”
Their passion for their jobs and their commitment to service has never before been so evident than in these challenging times when they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to care for their clients.
Lessner Gomez is hugely appreciative of travel agents at the best of times and even more so during these tough times.
Gomez, director of the Cuba Tourist Board’s Toronto office, says the travel agency community has shown admirable dedication to their work in recent weeks.
“Travel agents are very important, they bring expertise and knowledge of Cuba that is proven to be irreplaceable,” he says. “Their passion for their jobs and their commitment to service has never before been so evident than in these challenging times when they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to care for their clients.”
Gomez describes Cuba as a charter-dominated market and notes that travel agents count for the majority of the sales to the destination and though, consumers research the country online, at the end most will book it through a travel agent.
“We are very grateful for all the support from all the Canadian trade,” Gomez continues. “We will get through this (coronavirus) together and Cuba will be ready to receive Canadians once again at our pristine beaches with a safe and healthy environment that we are so proud of.”
For clients to hear this firsthand from agents is invaluable. I feel very lucky and grateful to work with some of the best agents in North America. I would like to thank all the incredible agents we work with each day for their ongoing support and passion for the Intrepid style of travel. You are making a real difference.
Shayna Zand says sustainable travel that provides experiences throughout is on the upswing and both her employer and travel agents are part of that welcome advance.
Zand, head of business development in North America for Intrepid Travel, says Intrepid believes agents are invaluable in helping creating a better world.
“Travel agents are integral ambassadors for Intrepid and our style of travel,” she says. “Sustainable, experience-rich travel is growing as customers look to travel on small-group tours that give back to the places and people that they visit. This is no longer a niche product and clients want to know that their travels are impacting the destination in a positive way.”
Zand adds that Intrepid is well aware that travel agents are having a hugely positive influence on people’s vacations.
“For clients to hear this firsthand from agents is invaluable.” she says. “I feel very lucky and grateful to work with some of the best agents in North America. I would like to thank all the incredible agents we work with each day for their ongoing support and passion for the Intrepid style of travel. You are making a real difference.”