TORONTO — How will The Travel Agent Next Door celebrate its birthday tomorrow? By revelling in its many accomplishments over the years.
The host agency, which turns 7 years old tomorrow, March 19, has sold over $500 million in sales since inception and now has 508 Primary Agents and 380 Associate Agents in its network, plus 45 staff to support these agents. This gives the agency the highest ratio of support staff to agents in the industry.
In addition, it has graduated over 200 new agents from its in-house travel school, helping to ensure that Canada’s travel industry continues to grow.
“We are extremely proud of how far we have come in seven years,” said founder Flemming Friisdahl. “We were a start-up and everyone on our team has worked incredibly hard to bring us to where we are today. But of course we would not exist if it were not for the suppliers who believed in us and our partners and independent travel agents.”
The company has introduced a number of ‘firsts’ among host agencies over the years, including:
- The only online system that enables agents to charge a cancellation fee or a ‘planning to go’ fee, or any fee to accommodate agents who want to charge fees
- The only host agency to have 18 hours of ticketing support six days per week, and no ticketing fees on any issuing of the ticket
- The only online system for agents to send a trip authorization online to verify birthday, passport expiration date, credit card charges, insurance waiver and include customized Terms and Conditions, including suppliers’ T&Cs
- The only host agency to have developed its own proprietary websites where agents can easily customize 90% of the site themselves
- The only host agency developing its own version of a group module that can collect the customer’s credit card and personal information and still be PCI compliant
- All of the above are included at no extra cost to TTAND partner
Also notable is the launch of The Agency Solution, a program for small and medium travel agencies that are looking to decrease the time spent on paper work and back-end tasks and instead concentrate on the business of selling travel.
“This past year has, of course, been a year like none of us has ever seen in our industry,” added Friisdahl. “We have concentrated on supporting our agents through this period and have had a number of agents join TTAND this past year. We will be ready when the rebound comes and there are already strong signals that it is coming.”
Throughout the pandemic, The Travel Agent Next Door held several initiatives to keep its agents engaged and to give back to local communities. During the holiday season, the company sponsored 48 travel agent partners and their families who were struggling financially. Plus, over the past seven years, the company and its partners have raised $79,571 for its charity of choice, Pencils for Kids.