Sunquest turns a profit and turns up the heat with its new GoGuide
Frank DeMarinis, CEO of TravelBrands (left) and Joe DeMarinis, Vice-President, Marketing & Sales, TravelBrands (right) welcome Philip Rose, Regional Director – Canada for the Jamaica Tourist Board, to last night's launch of the Sunquest GoGuide.

Sunquest turns a profit and turns up the heat with its new GoGuide

TORONTO — “We know you expect great things from this brand and we will not let you down.”

In other words, Sunquest is back.

TravelBrands executives were out in full force last night at the launch of Sunquest’s new GoGuide, hosting industry players including suppliers, tourism boards and travel agents for an event that showcased not only the GoGuide but also a new Insider’s Agent Guide for Sunquest, Holiday House, Intair Vacations and Fun Sun Vacations product, as well as an expanded line-up for ALBATours.

The Sunquest brand never really went away, but in recent years the company’s profile and profits had diminished. “Sunquest has had its share of difficulties and some people thought the company was beyond repair,” said Bryan Klompas, Sunquest’s Executive Vice-President.

Now the red-logo company is back in the black. The company is once again profitable and on a strong growth trajectory, Klompas told the audience, eliciting a round of cheers. Sunquest recently completed its first full fiscal year since Red Label Vacations and Enzo, Joe and Frank DeMarinis bought the company from Thomas Cook in March 2013.

Sunquest couldn’t have achieved its success without the support of travel agents and supplier partners, said the execs. “Sunquest, Encore Cruises, ALBATours, Intair – these are all well-known brands. We want to earn your business back and you’re going to see how we’re going to do that over the next few months. TravelBrands is in the positive and this wouldn’t have been possible without your support. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you,” said Frank DeMarinis.

A new ad campaign begins next week, he added.

Instantly recognizable with its distinctive red cover, the new Sunquest GoGuide aims to inspire travellers, going beyond just product and price to include lengthy resort and destination descriptions, and high-impact visuals.

It’s a great resource and selling tool for travel agencies, said Brad Miron, Vice-President, Marketing & Business Development for TravelBrands. And don’t call it a brochure. “It’s the GoGuide. We don’t use the ‘b’ word anymore,” Miron joked. “And Sunquest is no longer a tour operator. It’s Canada’s travel company.”

Agents will also see more of Sunquest’s Longer for Less program, and more of a focus on its Deal of the Week line-up, he said. “The Deal of the Week will be so value-driven that your clients won’t be able to say no.”

Groups are still big business for Sunquest and travellers need just eight passengers to qualify for group perks. For details email groups@sunquest.ca.

Also launched last night, the Insider’s Agent Guide focuses on product from Sunquest, Holiday House, Intair Vacations and Fun Sun Vacations. It’s a modular program with 11 more Guides to come, with monthly distribution.

For now the focus remains sun and sand, but Miron hinted that Sunquest has its sights set on the bigger picture. “Travel agents play a huge role in the decision-making process for their clients. And with our road map for the next 36 months, that will include destinations anywhere in the world.”

ALBATours, meanwhile, has undergone big changes in recent months as well, with an expanded line-up that will include Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Israel.

Known for its Italy program, ALBA needed more year-round product to be sustainable, said Firdosh Bulsara, Vice-President, Commercial.

In Italy, ALBA has added Sicily and Sardinia and brought in flexible short-stay options so clients can combine the modules into longer itineraries. In total ALBA now offers flights to 19 destinations in Italy.

ALBA’s new 72-page dedicated Cruise Collection 2015 brochure is also on its way, with sailings in Europe, the Med and across the Atlantic with MSC Cruises. A 2015 Southern Hemisphere brochure, also ready to go, includes Ecuador and the Galapagos, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and South Africa.

ALBA has an introductory commission offer worth 13%, valid until the end of March.

TravelBrands has become a very integrated company, said DeMarinis. “The only way we can be successful is by being different,” he said. “We need to stay one step ahead, and we need to provide travel agents with the information they need. We’re going to be different that way. The wholesaler of the past is not going to be the wholesaler of the future. We are the ones that want to grow with you.”