Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
TORONTO — Travel agents play such a crucial role in all aspects of the travel industry, it’s no wonder that Travel Agent Day, celebrated today with special agent-only promotions from a long list of travel companies, has become such a big event on the calendar for retailers and suppliers alike.
Colleen Lorenzen, Operations Manager at Uniglobe Carefree Travel in Saskatoon got the ball rolling back in 2011 with a simple Facebook page and small acts of appreciation – from lunch to flowers and the like – for her own travel agents.
Thanks to Lorenzen, seven years later Travel Agent Day has become a mainstay on the industry calendar as a chance for suppliers to say a big ‘thank you’ to their retail partners for all their hard work throughout the year.
More than a dozen tour operators, airlines, host agencies and more have come onboard with Travel Agent Day (or Month!) promotions. Here’s a look at the latest …
In celebration of Travel Agent Day Sunwing is offering agents two times STAR Agent Reward Points, which convert to cash, on all bookings for the entire day (24 hours). The promotion applies to all bookings for departures May 3 – Oct. 31, 2018. “Our travel agent partners are a key part of our success and we welcome the opportunity to celebrate their hard work with this limited-time promotion,” says Vice President of Retail Sales, Deana Murphy. Sunwing’s Spring-ventory clearance sale has been extended until May 4. Agents can also earn triple STAR points on Sunwing Experiences (including stand-alone purchases) throughout the month of May, as well as earn a ballot each time they make an excursion booking that will go towards a daily draw for the chance to win an excursion for two. A total of 30 excursions will be given away throughout the month. See sunwingagents.ca.
On May 2 agents will earn extra Bonbon Rewards when they book South, Florida, Europe or cruise packages and flights only, all through Transat. When combining this offer with Transat’s Early Booking Promotion, agents will earn even more: up to $75 (15 x rewards) per room; and up to $15 (5 x rewards) per passenger.
AIR CANADA VACATIONS
Until May 10 agents booking Air Canada Vacations packages will receive an additional 2% commission. The incentive applies to any ACV packages, including Flight and Cruise options, for travel starting Nov 1, 2018 and completed by April 30, 2019. The offer is not applicable to Groups, including Air and Cruise only.
For a limited time agents can register missed bookings with Sandals Resorts and maximize their earnings and benefits as part of the Certified Sandals Specialist program. Unique Vacations Inc. has lifted the 30-day policy for registering bookings online at its travel agent portal. For today only, May 2, agents have the opportunity to register all of their missed bookings online at taportal.sandals.com and earn more. Normally all Sandals and Beaches bookings must be registered within 30 days from holding the reservation. For more information agents can contact their local BDM or call Inside Sales at 1-800-545-8283.
INSIGHT & LUXURY GOLD
Insight and Luxury Gold are marking Travel Agent Day with a month-long celebration that coincides with Insight Vacations’ 40 year anniversary. With a new month-long incentive, for every booking agents will receive a $40 gift card. There are also three grand prizes and every booking also earns the travel agent a ballot in the draw. On May 2 three lucky winners will be awarded an Insight experience of a local five-star hotel including dinner and a spa package, a $400 gift card or a Swarovski Crystaldust cuff.
The top-selling agent for G Adventures for today, May 2, will win a free trip to Sri Lanka, Morocco, Colombia, South Africa or Iceland, and a randomly selected agent will also receive a free trip to one of those destinations. “While we appreciate and show our love for the agent community throughout the year, we wanted to extend a special thank you and incentive on Travel Agent Day,” says Aizaz Sheikh, Canadian Director of Marketing, G Adventures. “From day one, agents have always played a critical role in our success. In fact, in Canada agent sales represent 50% of our business. They play a huge role in amplifying and championing our brand and the adventure travel space in general, and are a valuable extension of the G Adventures family.” See gadvnt.rs/fbcanada.
AMResorts is saying thank you to the travel agent community with 31 days of incentives including contests, special rates and prizes. “Travel professionals are critical partners to our business,” said Jan LaPointe, Vice President of Strategic Retail Sales North America. “There’s no better way to thank them than with a month-long celebration, offering an array of amazing perks.” AMResorts’ ‘Amazing May’ includes Special Master Agent Rates at participating properties and double booking points for select resorts. There’s also a chance to win a free stay or one of 27 tablets. For more details on this campaign see the landing page.
To celebrate the official launch of its new agent website, announced May 1, Contiki is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to every agent who makes their first booking on the new site by May 31.
Agents can win one of two free fam spots with the new Travel Agent Month booking incentive kicking off today, May 1, with the Globus family of brands. Kim Clarke, Director of Sales for the Globus family of brands, says the company is dedicating the month of May to travel agents. Every booking made in May with any of the Globus family brands (Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways) instantly becomes a ballot, says Clarke. The first randomly-drawn entry will win the choice of a Globus nine-day Bavarian Highlights fam departing Oct. 28, or a Cosmos nine-day Dublin to London fam departing Oct. 14. The second winner will receive a spot on the remaining trip. Winners will be announced the first week of June. For more details see agentlingo.ca.
Goway is offering agents one extra stamp in their ‘Passport to a FAM’ for bookings made May 7 – 11. Plus, one lucky agent will win a spot on a Goway fam to South Africa this August. “So sell as much as you can May 7 – 11,” says Goway’s GM, Sales, Renee Stanton. “And thank you very much for all of your support throughout the year.”
Yesterday WestJet hinted at a special offer for travel agents, which the company confirmed will be announced later today, marking the beginning of Travel Agent Appreciation Month at WestJet. We’ll post an update as soon as the offer becomes available.
Both Trafalgar and CostSaver have several ongoing agent incentives running until June 30. Plus, agents are asked to share their team photos using #TTLovesAgents or #CSLovesAgents for a chance to win a $2,500 travel voucher: “The more you share, the more chances to win.”
TravelBound has a contest to celebrate Travel Agent Day and entries are being accepted through May 4, 2018. TravelBound is offering one lucky travel agent a $100 Amazon gift card. To enter to win, TravelBound is asking agents to share their greatest experience as a travel agent. See 1.shortstack.com/fhXGSj.
Travel Professionals International (TPI) says it would like to welcome all travel agents who would like to join its network in the month of May, by waiving its monthly fees for the first six months, a $600 value. To assist in the transition of an agent’s business, TPI says it has recently implemented a salary draw to ensure all new-to-TPI advisors don’t miss out on income. “We are continuously striving to make our advisors life easier, and ensure that we all work as a team to strengthen our advisors’ business. At the end of the day it is all about our advisors,” said TPI CEO Zeina Gedeon. Agents with inquiries are asked to contact Leah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or (866) 627-2122. TPI is also celebrating its own advisors with daily prize giveaways, capped off with a grand prize, an NCL cruise for two.
Intrepid is giving away two spots on its Explore Northern Thailand itinerary to celebrate Travel Agent Day today. To qualify agents need to enter their details here: escape.intrepidtravel.com/agents and watch an Asia Webinar on May 4. Intrepid is also giving away an Urban Adventure, Intrepid’s day tour brand, worth up to $100 to everyone who enters.
ROYAL IRISH TOURS
To celebrate Travel Agent Day, Royal Irish Tours is giving agents the chance to win a free space on its 2018 fam, including airfare from the agent’s home city. Every booking made on an RIT trip during the month of May will result in an entry into the draw. The winner will be announced on June 4. The fam is Nov. 2 – 9 and agents “will experience the very best of the Emerald Isle”. To apply email email@example.com.
Club Med’s ‘Agent Calendar’ is a dedicated website featuring daily goals for agents to complete for a chance to win a grand prize of 30,000 Great Agent points, the equivalent to a five-night stay in one of Club Med’s North American resorts. Agents can easily go back through days they may have missed and play in past challenges. At the end of the month, the agents who participated in the most challenges will be entered into the grand prize draw. See en.clubmedagents.ca/training-tools-benefits/travel-agent-calendar/.
To say ‘thanks’ to agents UnCruise Adventures is offering a US$100 bonus commission per traveller on any new reservations booked in May on its 2018 and 2019 Columbia and Snake Rivers departures. That includes the company’s Rivers of Adventure, Rivers of Wine, and Rivers of Wine & Culinary itineraries. “In honour of Canada’s National Travel Agent Day, we want to thank travel agents for sending clients on incredible adventures – including some of ours! Their investment and partnership makes all the difference.” UnCruise Adventures’ website is uncruise.com.