TORONTO — The Travel Corporation’s new streamlined operations will include a single sign-in portal for TTC’s travel agent partners, rather than multiple portals for the company’s many brands.
The trade portal will launch in summer 2022, said Guy Young, TTC’s Chief Trade Engagement Officer. Young, who is based in New York City, is expanding his role with the addition of Canada as part of TTC’s new North America reorganization, as announced last week.
Young is well-known in the Canadian travel industry, heading up The Travel Corporation here from 2000 to 2006 before heading to TTC brand Uniworld, where he was President and CEO for 10 years.
Also announced last week, TTC is consolidating all its global tour brands under a single new division called TTC Tour Brands. The division will include Insight, Trafalgar, Luxury Gold, Costsaver, Contiki, Adventure World Travel and more.
“WE DID HAVE TO MAKE VERY DIFFICULT PERSONNEL DECISIONS”
Few companies are emerging from the pandemic as they were pre-2020, and that’s true for The Travel Corporation.
With the new reorganization, TTC will be without many of its key Canadian team members, who are all pillars in this industry and who propelled TTC’s growth in this market, with their years of hard work and dedication.
They include President, Canada, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, Brad Ford; President, Canada, Contiki, Sheralyn Berry; and President, Canada, Trafalgar, Wolf Paunic.
“With this transition, we did have to make some very difficult personnel decisions,” Young confirms in an interview with Travelweek. He adds that the decision was part of the restructure, “and was in no way a reflection of performance or contribution.”
The Toronto-based office will remain one of three offices supporting the TTC Tour Brands in North America, in addition to Cypress, California and New York City, he adds. Young is based in New York.
TTC TOUR BRANDS & THE CANADIAN MARKET
The creation of a centralized TTC Tour Brands was an opportunity to provide more efficiency, says Young. In an ever-changing travel landscape, “it will be easier to make quick decisions and react to changes in the marketplace. It was long overdue.”
Young said the TTC Tour Brands move will also help to maintain differentiation among the TTC’s many brands, and to make sure the brands aren’t competing against each other. “And we thought that it would be much easier to accomplish that having one team overseeing all the brands, and having visibility across all the brands.”
The idea was in play long before the pandemic, but the past two years “really helped us crystallize our thinking,” he adds.
Young spoke to concerns the industry might have about Canada being lumped in with the U.S., given that Canada – while it has a lot in common with the U.S. market – is also its own unique market.
“Canada is a very important market for us,” he said, adding that in talks with key retail partners, “everybody understands the rationalization.” He noted that many of the biggest retail players in Canada, including TL Network, Ensemble, TravelSavers, Virtuoso and the like also have a Canada / U.S. structure. “We put in a structure where we will definitely have representation. We’re still going to have a field sales team that’s in Canada. We’re going to have a Director of Field Sales. We have appointed a new position as director of national accounts. We’ve got inside teams, we’ve got our marketing team. There is a basis for collaboration, so we’re going to make sure that continues.”
Young added that in his expanded role, now including the Canadian market as well as the U.S., one of his first priorities is to spend a lot of time with TTC’s Canadian travel agent partners, “just to make sure we give them all the attention and reassurances that they deserve and make sure that they all understand that Canada is very important to us. Travel agents are the key to success for our organization.”
Working with Young is Melissa da Silva, who previously served as president of TTC brands Trafalgar, Costsaver, Brendan Vacations, Contiki and Adventure World Travel in the U.S. With the reorganization, the combined U.S. and Canada effort, comprising the North America sales and marketing region, will be under da Silva’s direction. Da Silva has added TTC brands Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, as well as the Canadian market, to her portfolio.
FORWARD BOOKINGS UP
In recent weeks, in the wake of the Canadian government’s announcement about eased travel restrictions, TTC saw an uptick in bookings from the Canadian market.
Moving on from the pandemic, he notes that TTC’s focus on care for its clients – including its new Wellbeing Directors on its tours, introduced in summer 2020 – will serve the company well going forward. “We think we’re well-positioned,” says Young. “And we look forward to welcoming lots and lots of Canadian guests on tours in 2022 and 2023.”
Young adds that while TTC has cancelled its Russia product, the company intends to operate all of its other European itineraries as planned. “we’ve got a 24/7 support service so we can very quickly adapt to whatever changes are happening in Europe. So our hope and expectation is we’ll continue to operate in good numbers in 2022.”