“All the offerings of larger host agencies with lower monthly fees”: Fareconnect
Rick Gaudet

“All the offerings of larger host agencies with lower monthly fees”: Fareconnect

File this one under ‘never waste a crisis’: Fareconnect actively recruited new agents during the pandemic, resulting in overall growth of 80%, from coast to coast. In this edition of Take 5, Fareconnect CEO Rick Gaudet talks booking trends, new initiatives and the two skills that every travel advisor needs.


What are you hearing from Fareconnect travel advisors in terms of bookings and travel trends?

“We have certainly seen a large increase in sales over the past several months. Group bookings are up significantly as clients seem to want to secure weddings and family reunions for 2023. Surprisingly, cruise books are now increasing as clients are feeling more comfortable with sailing again. We have also noticed a decline in insurance sales since Canada lowered the advisory on travel. We seem to have dropped back to pre-pandemic averages for insurance sales.”

For most companies in the travel industry, the pandemic was a time of hibernation, not growth. Was that the case for Fareconnect, or did the company add advisors over the past two years?

“We are very proud at Fareconnect as we did not lay off any staff during the pandemic. We made a conscious effort to double down on our support for agents. We actually invested into our company to create tools to better assist our agents in their day-to-day work. We also actively recruited new agents to the company, resulting in overall growth of 80%, from coast to coast.”

 

Is Fareconnect getting a lot of interest from new-to-industry agents, and what skill are most important for any new-to-industry travel agent to have?

“Fareconnect specializes in new to the industry agents. We have our own Fareconnect Online Training Program specifically designed for new to the industry agents. Fareconnect built this program during the pandemic and created the material from our in house expertise. We like to think that our program is unique as we created it specifically for new to the industry independent agents. Many who contributed material are independent agents, so they understand the struggles and needs of agents who work from home.

“Skills that are important to new to the industry agents are sales and marketing. As an independent agent, you need to get yourself out there, and let people know who you are and the service you provide. When you do get a lead, it’s all about selling yourself and then your product to your client. Having these two skills will certainly accelerate your business growth.”

 

For any of our readers unfamiliar with Fareconnect, what do you want them to know?

“Fareconnect is a host agency based in Western Canada.  Our head office is in Winnipeg where we also have a storefront agency. The agency, along with serving our travel clients, allows us to keep up-to-date on the day-to-day operations of the travel world to better assist our agents. Fareconnect has all the offerings of larger host agencies with lower monthly fees. We also have flexible join fees with a special offer for experienced agents.  At Fareconnect, we believe that our success is built on the success of our agents, not on fees collected.”

 

What are some recent Fareconnect initiatives that you’d like to shine a spotlight on?

“During the pandemic we created our own online training program. This program is on-demand, giving agents the flexibility to do their training anytime. We also invested in a resource site, where we store all agents’ pertinent information. This includes supplier information and password storage, recorded webinars, social media posts, client handouts plus much more.

“The current initiative we are working on is to allow our agents to share Groups. This program will allow agents to view current Groups that fellow agents wish to allow other agents to book into. This will help the group lead agent to secure those amenities and free seats while providing all agents a better price point and amenities than booking outside of the group.”