The new deferred payment, zero interest program (ZIP) is now available through The Travel Agent Next Door so we asked suppliers what they think.
Here are the comments from Dana Gain, Senior Director, Sales, Groups & Partnerships, ACV; Sandra Gardiner, Director of National Accounts, Canada, AmaWaterways; and Martha Tavio, Sales Director, Gateways International …
Q: What are your thoughts about TTAND’s new ZIP program?
Gain: “It’s always exciting to see an innovative company like TTAND put forward yet another new, fresh idea. We’re just beginning to see the trend in Canada towards offering payment options beyond the high-interest credit card option.”
Gardiner: “I was delighted to learn that TTAND would be launching the new ZIP program that will encourage travellers to book knowing they are able to purchase their dream holiday and pay over up to twelve months interest free.”
Tavio: “Occasionally, passengers are unaware of the actual costs to obtain a quality journey, and they sadly need to re-evaluate their plans or postpone their journey. If presented with an opportunity to help turn a passengers’ travel dreams into reality even sooner, we would be very happy to work with our valued travel agent partners at TTAND to offer it.”
Q: Do you believe this will benefit your business?
Gain: “Absolutely, it will essentially make vacation more affordable to Canadians. Perhaps that customer will go twice a year instead of once, or select more exotic destinations or choose a 5-star instead of a 4-star. And there will be others who perhaps could not afford to go on vacation at all, and now they can.”
Gardiner: “Guests can now make equal payments for their vacation and not have to put out that lump payment at one given time. It will encourage guests to book luxury trips that they thought they previously could not afford.”
Q: The ZIP program enables consumers to upgrade, would you consider paying for the program to encourage upgrades?
Gain: “We would encourage any vehicle that allowed us to bring the best possible vacation experience to the customer.”
Gardiner: “I have already committed to paying the small fee in order to encourage guests to book their dream vacation with AmaWaterways.”
Q. What are your thoughts about a fixed cost, rather than variable?
Gain: “The fixed cost model is ideal because the customer always knows how much they’re going to pay, unlike an interest rate.”
Gardiner: “There is great value in being able to manage or budget your payments equally over a specific term.”
Tavio: “I think the cost can vary, based on the number of passengers on the same file that are requiring the use of the program. Assuming these details can be communicated in a clear manner to the passenger through their travel agent, we would be interested in exploring this with TTAND.”
Q. Have you seen success with this type of program in the past?
Gain: “It’s only a new idea in Canada. Large travel companies in South America such as Argentina and Brazil have been doing it very successfully for many years. This sets a strong precedent for TTAND.”
Gardiner: “I remember a program similar to this with Sears Travel that was very successful. I am pleased that Flemming and TTAND have adapted this new Zip program to make travel easier for the clients who choose to book with TTAND and AmaWaterways.”
Tavio: “Absolutely. Sears Travel had immense success with a similar program and we would love to see TTAND grow!”