If there was one person who could truly be called an icon of the travel industry, it was Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
TORONTO — If member agents and suppliers couldn’t come to The Travel Agent Next Door, then The Travel Agent Next Door would come to them. The host agency toasted its partners and agents last night with a special webinar presentation that looked back at 2019’s successes and ahead to 2020, with all of its challenges and opportunities.
TTAND’s top performers were also celebrated last night.
Flemming Friisdahl, founder, The Travel Agent Next Door said that in 2019 TTAND had 388 Primary Agents and 322 Associate Agents, for a total of 710. In 2020 those numbers are up, to 465 Primary Agents and 389 Associate Agents, for a total of 854. “And we’re adding seven to 10 new members per month,” he added.
The growth of the home-based sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic is covered in this week’s May 14 issue of Travelweek.
In 2019 TTAND was also the number one agency for Ensemble Travel Group, “and it only took you two years,” Friisdahl said as he congratulated TTAND agents during last night’s webinar. TTAND is also #1 for Ensemble for 2020, he added.
The year ahead won’t be without its challenges, as the industry waits for the warning against non-essential travel to be lifted. Even then, travellers may be dealing with financial concerns in the wake of COVID-19. TTAND’s Zero Interest Program (ZIP), introduced last year, will be a key selling tool when travel reopens, says Friisdahl.
Coming this year, TTAND will have a new Itinerary Program available to its member agents. “Using Umapped or Travefy is costly and time-consuming,” says Friisdahl, adding that TTAND is developing its own itinerary program where agents can generate itineraries to send to clients in PDF and other formats. The program should be ready by the end of 2020, and available at no cost to Primary Agents (and at a small cost to Associate Agents).
In these difficult times TTAND is also focused on giving back. Friisdahl says the host agency will be giving away two trips to people – the first, a first responder, and the second, a front-line worker. All TTAND agents will have entry forms for the giveaway available on their websites.
Also taking part in last night’s webinar were VP Penny Martin, VP Talent Development Rhonda Stanley and Director, Marketing & Communications, Shean Carmichael.
Key initiatives from 2019 for TTAND include The HUB agent centre, new functionality for ClientLINQ including drag and drop invoices, reminder pop-ups and alerts for future travel vouchers and more. There are also new developments for agency sites, allowing for more customization, says Carmichael, with new image options and more. “We want to give you more customization, more control, more personalization so you can get your website looking the way you want it to look,” he said.
TTAND also offers The Agency Solution for agency owners with storefronts, and a new agent program that Stanley says welcomed some 50 new-to-industry agents in 2019.
Here’s the list of TTAND’s top performers…
Kyla Coe – Highest Insurance Close Ratio for Primary Agent, Highest Insurance Sales, Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Susan Tuckey – Highest Insurance Close Ratio for Gold/Silver Agent & Highest Insurance Sales
Karen Gill – Highest Insurance Close Ratio for Agency, Highest Insurance Sales & Ambassador Star Award
Jessica Chaisson – Highest Insurance Close Ratio for Associate Agent
Frances Gertsch – Highest Insurance Sales for Associate Agent.
Lee Ann Jensen – Highest Average Rate of Commission for a Primary Agent & Top Performer
Wayne Ashby – Highest Average Rate of Commission for a Gold/Silver agent
Shalene Dudley – Highest Average Rate of Commission for an Agency & Millionaires Award
Alex Racey – Highest Average Rate of Commission for an Associate Agent
Sharlene Philipchuk – Highest Earned Commission for a Primary Agent, Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Terri Suomi – Highest Earned Commission for a Gold/Silver agent
Travis Stewart – Highest Earned Commission for an Agency & Top Performer
Anna Abbandonato – Highest Earned Commission for an Associate Agent
Daphne Hart – Highest Percentage of Preferred/Approved Suppliers for an Experienced Agent
Sherri Nichols – Highest Percentage of Preferred/Approved Suppliers for a Silver/Gold Agent
Sandra Swash – Highest Percentage of Preferred/Approved Suppliers for an Agency
Arlene Gibbons – Peer to Peer Star Award
Judi Oracheski – Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Donnalea Madeley – Millionaires Award
Scott Waldron – Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Silvia Fuchs – Millionaires Award
Christine Elliott – Millionaires Award
Amanda Rauh – Millionaires Award
Suzanne Morgan – Millionaires Award
Margarita Montaner – Millionaires Award
Vivica Watson – Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Cathy Carter – Millionaires Award
Cathy Wiechnik – Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Sandra McLeod – Millionaires Award
Wilma Suurnakki – Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Lori Oshanney – Millionaires Award
Tammy Jacobs – Millionaires Award
Renee Gancasz – Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Coreen Doucett – Millionaires Award
Jennifer Perry – Millionaires Award & Top Performer
Carol Baldwin – Top Performer
Cindy Almond – Top Performer
Coralie Belman – Top Performer
Cory Tuckey – Top Performer
Cynthia Davidson – Top Performer
Elizabeth Rodgers – Top Performer
Julia Lutchman – Top Performer
Kiki Lin – Top Performer
Kim Friesen – Top Performer
Leanne Unger – Top Performer
Liana Rowan – Top Performer
Mike Gilmore – Top Performer
Ruth Guiry – Top Performer
Sharna Crouch – Top Performer
Shelley Cota – Top Performer
Stacey Knight – Top Performer
Steph Switzer – Top Performer
Sylvette Deveau – Top Performer
Tannis Dyrland – Top Performer
Valerie Paton – Top Performer
Wendi Gladstone – Top Performer
Wendy Harrison – Top Performer