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“We’re there for our agents every step of the way”: Travel Edge

Friday, August 25, 2017
“We’re there for our agents every step of the way”: Travel Edge

Jeff Willner, owner and CEO of Travel Edge, on a recent trip to Maasai Mara where the company is building a school

With a corporate family where everyone trusts each other to work hard, and a meaningful investment in making the world a better place, “you can’t help but continue to grow”, says Travel Edge CEO and Owner Jeff Willner. Willner talks about the new look and strategy for Travel Edge in this edition of Friday Five.

1. Travel Edge is the new name for Worldview Travel. How has Worldview Travel grown over the past several years?

“Worldview has always been a part of the Travel Edge Group of companies. We built the company with a series of acquisitions starting in 2011 that included luxury leisure agencies and corporate agencies. The company was called Worldview in the press, but really it was a collection of 12 acquired agencies, most of whom continued to operate under their own names including; The Travel Network (Toronto), Pisa Brothers Travel (New York), Travel Door (California), and Century Travel (Atlanta). We currently have 11 offices in Canada, the U.S. and Bermuda.”

2. Why was the decision made to re-brand to Travel Edge and what elements have been included in the rebranding/redesign?

“Our intention was to bring our leading edge technology and combine it with the decades of experience and client relationships from the agencies. There was a general feeling from our discussions with our agents and management that we needed a fresh start. Travel Edge was selected based on the idea that we provide a competitive edge to our agents, and our agents provide better travel experiences and a lifestyle edge for their clients.

“In addition to the name, we wanted a new logo and an updated look and feel. Our new logo has two components: the stylized ‘route map’ insignia and the Travel Edge wordmark.

“Inspired by our advisors and the journey they take with their clients, the dots and lines that comprise the T and E in our insignia signify the symbiotic relationship between client and advisor. We’re there for them every step of the way. The wordmark, with its capital letters and wide kerning, are a nod to our power brand positioning. We’re confident in our strategy to become the largest and best luxury agency in North America.

“We’ve also updated our visuals by choosing images that offer the viewer a sense of belonging and allow them to picture themselves in the scene. You can see more of the new creative on our website (traveledge.com).”

3. How many travel agents are now under the Travel Edge banner and what is your value proposition for those advisors?

“Travel Edge is a $750 million company with over 750 advisors specializing in Leisure, Corporate & Events, and Tours travel. Most of our advisors are home-based. Many have decades of experience but a growing number are professionals who have moved to travel as a second or third career. We have carefully built a support team to help our agents grow their sales and most importantly grow their profits.

“We offer the highest, achievable commission levels in air, cruise, hotels, resorts, tours and more. But what is interesting about Travel Edge is we also offer full professional services including finance, HR, technology, three different GDS, ClientBase, email, marketing, legal, and more. So agents have the best of both worlds: industry leading commissions plus the benefits of full service.

“Ultimately though our true competitive advantage is the Agent Digital Experience (ADX) tool. We’ve invested over $20 million in the past five years to build a modern travel management tool that transforms agent profitability. They can bundle multiple products with a single click, instantly show Virtuoso amenities, cross sell/upsell, see commissions live, auto invoice, and stay informed with online reports. We believe ADX is truly transformative for the luxury leisure agent.”

4. What sort of reaction have you heard from Travel Edge travel advisors about the rebranding?

“We just finished a road show to almost all of our branches where I had the pleasure of chatting directly to most of our advisors. Feedback on the new brand has been really positive. We believe every advisor wants to be proud of their brand.

“We are on a journey to create a luxury brand that can hold its own across all industries. And that is a message that has really resonated with our employees, agents and the rest of the industry. They are also very excited that as our brand starts to gain awareness it will result in more leads and more closed sales.”

5. Is Travel Edge still pursuing the acquisition of more agencies and what are the company’s growth goals over the next few years?

“Candidly we have been very successful as a company with double-digit organic growth, hundreds of advisors who have joined our Advisor Program and ongoing acquisitions. That is due entirely to the top-notch team at the company. Not just the best in travel but a group of folks who can hold their own in any industry.

“Central to our success is a sense of family and giving. This past year we spent a couple million dollars on employee recognition, top performer retreats, luxury fam trips, skills training and charitable donations. All of us joined together to raise funds to make dreams come true with Make-a-Wish, build schools in Africa, fund deep ocean research with Nekton, and support the arts with Jazz FM.

“I believe with a corporate family that can trust each other to work hard, and a meaningful investment in making the world a better place, you can’t help but continue to grow.

“More information on our program can be found at www.traveledge.com/join.”

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