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 — It’s Travel Agent Day and tour operators, airlines and hotel groups have really stepped up this year to show their appreciation for their hard-working front-line travel agent partners with incentives, contests and more goodies.
Travel Agent Day got its start in 2011 when Colleen Lorenzen, Operations Manager at Uniglobe Carefree Travel in Saskatoon, noticed an office supplies sales rep handing out carnations for Secretaries Day. She thought, “If secretaries can have a day, so can we.” Soon after, Travel Agent Day was born.
Now in its eighth year and taking place every first Wednesday in May, Travel Agent Day is widely celebrated across Canada and in the U.S. as well, with travel agencies, tour operators and travel companies commemorating the day with special incentives.
Lorenzen’s Travel Agent Day Facebook page is regularly updated with agent offerings and industry photos.
“If you are not doing anything now, just start,” says Lorenzen. “Make it a fun day and bring your clients into it. What agency wouldn’t like to show their appreciation to their staff who are on the front lines of their business every day? They are the ones who are getting it done.”
Here’s a roundup of special offers from suppliers for Travel Agent Day and beyond…
In honour of Travel Agent Day Sunwing is offering agents double the STAR Agent Reward Points that convert to cash on all new bookings made on May 1 for departures between May 2 and October 31, 2019. Says Vice President of Retail Sales for Sunwing, Deana Murphy: “We are pleased to extend our sincere thanks to our travel agent partners with this limited-time offer on Travel Agent Day. We are also looking forward to the opportunity of showing our appreciation in person during our annual series of travel agent presentations that take place in May.” Sunwing’s Vacation Better Tour of travel agent presentations takes place in 18 locations from coast-to-coast throughout the month of May. Sunwing will be hosting their biggest tradeshow ever at the Paramount Event Centre in Vaughan tonight, May 1, with almost 600 travel agents expected to attend. Other stops on the tour include Stoney Creek, Gatineau, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Langley, Edmonton, St. John’s, Halifax and Moncton. The tour gives Sunwing the opportunity to celebrate and thank travel agents for the important role they play in Sunwing’s success story. For more details on the current promotion and to sign up for the STAR points program see sunwingagents.ca.
In celebration of Travel Agent Day and to show its appreciation of agents’ continuous dedication, Unique Vacations Inc., an affiliate of the worldwide representatives of Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts has waived the 30-day policy for registering bookings on its travel agent portal. For today only – May 1, 2019 – agents can register all of their missed bookings online at taportal.sandals.com. This amnesty period ensures that agents have the chance to register any bookings that have passed the standard 30-day deadline, thus maximizing their commissions and benefits as part of the Certified Sandals Specialist program. Sandals is also extending the redemption period on its popular travel agent reward program, Points to Paradise. Agents now have an additional five months – from July 2019 to December 2019 – to redeem their 2018 points. For more information, agents can contact their local Business Development Manager or call Inside Sales at 1-800-545-8283.
Today marks the first day of Travel Agent Appreciation Month at WestJet, an annual celebration of the airline’s travel trade partners, says Jane Clementino, WestJet Director, Agency Sales. “At WestJet, we do not just celebrate a day but rather dedicate the whole month of May to recognizing the hard work and true value of our partners. The commitment of our partners to providing remarkable travel experiences for our mutual clients does not go unnoticed,” she says. This year WestJet is celebrating with 31 days of giveaways where travel agents have a chance to win an array of prizes. TA Appreciation Month also coincides with WestJet’s annual spring Travel Trade Expos. Agents can enter to win prizes throughout the month of May and winners will be announced weekly beginning May 15.
G Adventures has announced a Travel Agent Day contest, where the top-selling Canadian agent during the month of May will win a G Adventures tour valued at $2,000. “At G Adventures, every day is Travel Agent Day and we try to show our love and appreciation of the community throughout the year,” says Aizaz Sheikh, G Adventures’ Canadian Marketing Director. “To mark this year’s TAD, we’re giving away a trip to the agent who sells the most tours throughout the month of May. From the entire team at G Adventures, thank you for your continued support and partnership. Our world deserves more you!”
For Travel Agent Day Insight Vacations is offering a $100 cash gift card bonus for every booking made May 1 – 3, for travel by Dec. 31. For more information call 1-800-387-8490.
Globus family of brands is thanking agents with an Avalon Waterways prize, in honour of Travel Agent Day. Any travel advisor booking and depositing any of the company’s four brands – Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways or Monograms – during the May 1 – 31 booking window will have his or her name entered in a contest to win one of Avalon’s European Avalon Active & Discovery cruises for two. Every booking results in one entry. Learn more about the Avalon contest at agentlingo.ca.
Air Canada is saying thanks to its valued travel agent community with a campaign running for the duration of May. Starting with a travel agent-exclusive offer on personal travel, travel agents can also enter a contest for a chance to win Economy class tickets any of Air Canada’s 200+ global destinations – no booking necessary. Learn more at aircanada.com/agents.
AIR CANADA VACATIONS
“Our trade partners are vital to our business, growth and success,” said Dana Gain, Senior Director of Sales, Groups & Partnerships. ACV is offering 3X ACV&ME points for Travel Agent Day, when booking a package or a group on all product lines for travel from May 1 until July 31, 2019. This offer is valid on new bookings made between May 1-8.
Plus, ACV has launched an Agent Appreciation Day contest exclusively for agents who book flights and hotel packages to Wynn Las Vegas in May for travel at any time. They’ll be automatically entered to win a two-night stay at the hotel, plus airfare to Las Vegas for two and two comped tickets to Le Rêve for travel at any time. Contest ends May 31, with the winner being drawn on June 4.
AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES
“Our travel partners are an extension of our Azamara family and we can’t thank them enough for all their love and support over the years,” said Carol Cabezas, Chief Operating Officer.
Throughout the month of May, for every Azamara booking made, agents can enter for a chance to win a trip for two on a 2019 Azamara Quest Alaska voyage in a Club Oceanview stateroom, plus a $1,000 Azamara Air credit. Agents who’ve registered and attended a live taping or a pre-recorded version of the Travel Advisor Appreciation Month webinar will receive promotional emails to enter the sweepstake. The winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email or phone, at which point they’ll have seven days to accept.
Moreover, Azamara has partnered with The Travel Institute to award 20 agents a chance to become Certified Travel Associates at the fraction of the cost. Winners will receive US$266 in tuition (agents will have to fund an additional $166 to take the course). Winners will be randomly chosen and be given a link to register and a coupon code, which includes their $266 in tuition.
On May 2, Azamara will release its first-ever Travel Advisor Guide (TAG), which will be linked to its Trade Newsletter. Coinciding with Travel Advisor Appreciation Month, the guide provides educational sales tools that will help agents better sell Azamara voyages to clients.
“We simply can’t do what we love to do without you,” says Gateways International Tailor-Made Tours. The company is offering four $50 pre-paid Visa gift card prizes for agents. To enter the draw, agents are asked to ‘Like’ the company on Instagram and tag @gatewaysinternational in a post that lets everyone know what’s great about working with the Gateways International team. Four random winners will be chosen today, May 1.
“Travel agents are the key to our success, they represent almost 99% of our business,” says Nathalie Tanious, Senior VP, Commercial. “Without travel agents there would be no TravelBrands.” This year, the company is giving agents the chance to win $10,000 for themselves, plus $10,000 for their agency. To qualify, agents must book at least two TravelGenie packages in the GDS between April 1-June 30. Every additional booking serves as an additional entry.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE
To celebrate National Travel Advisor Day today, May 1, Carnival Cruise Line is launching a search for the best of the best in a new contest that supports the year-long ‘Why Use a Travel Advisor’ (WUATA) program dedicated to promoting the value of travel agents. With the launch of the contest, “consumers can brag why their travel advisor is the best in the business in the quest for the title,” says the cruise line. Not only will the winning advisor be named Carnival’s ‘Most Trusted Advisor,’ the agent and their client nominator will be awarded a cruise on Mardi Gras — debuting in August 2020 — and roundtrip airfare, and the agent also will receive US$1,000 bonus and the commission from their client’s Mardi Gras cruise. To nominate a travel advisor, clients can visit wuatacontest.com and submit a short story on why their travel advisor deserves the title by recalling a time when they saved the day, made them feel extra special or went above and beyond the call of duty. The contest is open May 1 – Oct. 29, 2019, and the winner will be announced at CruiseWorld in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 13. The three finalists will be selected by a committee of judges. All three travel advisors will receive an all-expenses paid two-day trip to CruiseWorld, where the grand prize winner will be announced in front of an audience of more than 1,000 of their peers and industry professionals.
Club Med’s month-long Travel Advisor Month promotion has wrapped up but agents still have 1 day left to take advantage of the Travel Advisor Calendar for a chance to win a spot for the opening event of Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda. See https://clubmedtravelagentmonth.ca for details.
AMResorts is celebrating travel agent appreciation month with its second annual ‘Amazing May’ campaign, with a month of rewards extending special booking rates plus two contests for travel agents in recognition of their stellar contributions and hard work year-round. “Our loyal and supportive travel professionals have been the heroes of AMResorts’ success story for nearly two decades,” says Jan LaPointe, Vice President Strategic Retail Sales North America, AMRewards & Canada. “In addition to our long-standing travel agent loyalty program, AMRewards, which provides valuable resources, tools and incentives for our agents, we’re proud to offer special rates and exciting contests to agents in appreciation of their efforts and continued dedication to making AMResorts perform at its best.” This year, Amazing May includes several perks. First, Exclusive Master Agent Rates: AMResorts is offering special rates to help Master Agents experience resorts for themselves. Master Agents can book all month for a stay May 1 – Dec. 22 at any of 28 participating resorts across the Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, and Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now, Reflect and Sunscape Resorts & Spas brands. Plus, AMResorts has ‘Share Your Story’: Agents can share photos and short stories about a visit to any AMResorts property for a chance to be one of 10 US$500 winners. Agents can enter up to seven times, one entry per resort brand. And AMResorts’ 2019 Amazing May Agent will not only reward the top agent with a five-night stay in a suite at a Secrets Resorts & Spas property, but will also earn them recognition with their bio published on the Amazing May landing page. Agents can earn points in several ways: one point for each booking registered in AMRewards during the month of May, two points for booking selected resorts, and an additional point for taking the new Reflect Master Agent course. For more information and details on this campaign, visit the Amazing May landing page.
TravelCar.com says current and prospective travel advisors in the U.S. and Canada who use TravelCar’s Travel Agent Platform to make parking reservations for clients will earn an additional 5% commission for the month of May, bringing the total to 15%. With TravelCar.com agents have access to book commissionable parking for clients at airports, seaports, train stations and city centres in more than 60 countries. Sign up for access for free at join.travelcar.com.
Windstar Cruises has designated May Travel Advisor Appreciation Month and created a new rewards program to thank travel advisors for their ongoing support. With the new Windstar Cruises rewards program, advisors can earn points for learning about the Windstar Cruises brand, promoting the line’s unique itineraries, and making bookings for cruises throughout the month of May. These points can be exchanged for valuable gift cards, and the top five points-earners can receive a cruise in a suite for two onboard the newly enhanced Star Breeze. During Windstar’s Travel Advisor Appreciation Month, advisors can earn points in several ways: Education (graduate Star Specialist Academy, 180 pts*; attend a Windstar webinar, 180 pts); Social (make a Windstar social media post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, 180 pts; send out a Windstar Cruises promotional email, 180 pts); Sales (make a Windstar booking, 90 pts*; register to use book WINDSTAR ONLINE, Windstar’s 24/7 online reservation system with real time pricing and inventory, 180 pts*; make a first booking Windstar booking through book WINDSTAR ONLINE, 360 pts; make additional Windstar bookings through book WINDSTAR ONLINE, 180 pts). All actions marked with an *asterisk qualify if done within the last 12 months. Agents have until the end of June to complete these actions and until the end of July to register completed actions. Grand prize winners will be chosen and notified on Dec. 2. Travel advisors can view Windstar’s Travel Advisor Appreciation rewards program rules, terms and conditions at https://advisorhub.windstarcruises.com/Appreciation, and email Windstar_Sales@WindstarCruises.com or call (206) 733-2994 with questions. To register for Windstar’s Advisor Hub, Star Specialist Academy, and book WINDSTAR ONLINE, travel advisors should visit Windstar’s Advisor Hub.
AIC HOTEL GROUP
The hotel and resort company is putting the finishing touches on a brand new promotion in honour of Travel Agent Day. Check back on Travelweek.ca or see Travelweek Daily on May 2 for details about the incentive, for Hard Rock Hotels of Mexico and more.