TORONTO — Membership is up, sales are up and 2016 looks “encouraging”, says John Lovell, President & CEO, Travel Leaders Group and Christine James, Vice President, Canada for Vacation.com.
Some 64 agencies joined Vacation.com Canada over the past year and membership now stands at 739, said James.
Sales are “quite a bit ahead” of last year, she added, with mass market vacation categories including all-inclusive resorts up between 10 and 28% year to date versus 2014. River cruising was flat compared to 2014 but more because of capacity increases than a drop in sales, said Lovell. European coach tours are still doing very well, he added. “Overall business is good and we’re very encouraged for 2016.”
More Canadian Vacation.com members are taking advantage of Agent Snapshot, creating their own online agent profiles for the Vacation.com B2C website. Agent Snapshot was launched earlier this year during Vacation.com’s conference onboard Quantum of the Seas and the profiles are populating the Vacation.com site.
“We’re finally leveraging our Vacation.com URL to sell our greatest asset – our travel counsellors,” said Lovell. More than 1,600 agents have published their Agent Snapshot profiles so far and that beat internal estimates, he added.
Vacation.com has support services to help members polish their profiles and the travel agent gets final approval. “We’re driving leads to our members and we’d like all our members to participate,” said Lovell.
The 2016 Vacation.com annual conference takes place May 22-26 at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida. Registration numbers have taken off and are already running about five months ahead of the 2015 conference. Some 1,600 agents in total are expected to attend the 2016 event.
Meanwhile Vacation.com’s fall regional conferences are underway. The Markham, ON event earlier this week attracted 100 agents and 73 suppliers, while the Toronto West event brought in more than 160 agents and 47 suppliers.
The first Vacation.com Young Professionals event in Toronto also took place this week, following the success of a Vancouver event last year (and in advance of another Vancouver event in two weeks’ time). The meetings are designed as networking events with travel agent professionals in their 20s and early 30s, and local suppliers. Milliennials will make up 30% of the population in five years, notes James.