TORONTO — TTC Tour Brands has come through its transitional year with flying colours and last night members of the executive and sales team here in Canada were on hand to celebrate the company’s valued travel advisor partners with a special casino-themed Travel Agent Day reception, at held at Arcadian Court in downtown Toronto.
Melissa DaSilva, President, TTC Tour Brands, North America was joined at the event by Ashley Woodring, VP, Sales, TTC Tour Brands, North America and Nicki Nuzman, Director, Partner Marketing, TTC Tour Brands, North America, plus members of the Canadian sales team: Jenni Berg, National Accounts Director, TTC Tour Brands; Brenda Bradley, Sales Manager, NE Ontario; Aaron Crawford, Sales Manager, SW Ontario; and Paula Rizos, Sales Manager, BC & Yukon.
Travel advisors came out in droves for the fun gathering, eager to try their hand at blackjack and other games. There was no presentation – just DaSilva’s encouragement for agents to enjoy the night and remember that “if you’re looking for a great trip for your clients, it doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, we’re going to have something in the deck that’s right for them.”
Agents got a deck of TTC Tour Brands-themed playing cards as a parting gift, just to drive the point home.
INTERVIEW WITH DASILVA
The ‘something for everyone’ theme worked well for the casino night, and it’s also the approach that TTC Tour Brands is maximizing to great effect across all of its operations.
Just over a year ago, in March 2022, the company announced the global reorganization of its tour brands under a new portfolio known as TTC Tour Brands, which includes Luxury Gold, Insight Vacations, Trafalgar, Brendan Vacations, Costsaver and Contiki. The global reorganization also included the departure several well-known members of the TTC team in Canada.
TTC Tour Brands has come through its transitional year stronger than ever, said DaSilva.
Travelweek had a chance to talk to her about it last night as the festivities were getting underway.
“It’s been a very, very interesting year for us,” she said. “It’s also a year that’s exceeding all our hopes and expectations. We’re thankful and grateful to our travel advisor partners who stood by us. That’s what this night is for. We just wanted to say thank you.”
For front-line agents, the biggest change with the global restructuring has been TTC Tour Brands’ Travel Advisor Portal (TAP).
The portal combines TTC Tour Brands into one online resource featuring the latest sales and marketing tools.
Advisors can search and book more than 1,000 worldwide guided itineraries across the six brands: Luxury Gold, Insight Vacations, Trafalgar, Brendan Vacations, Costsaver and Contiki.
The online capabilities of the portal include booking trips with flights and insurance, adding pre/post nights, pre-paid gratuities and discounts plus advisors can download itineraries, access invoices, make additional payments, find transfer details and complete their client’s trip registration.
TAP also offers travel advisor partners easy access to their local TTC Tour Brands Sales Managers, the latest deals, details about booking groups, eLearning and brochure orders.
Since the formation of TTC Tour Brands, the team has also implemented a number of changes to the way advisors sell and work with the individual brands:
- One united Sales Team, including 22 local Sales Managers across North America
- One Contact Centre across all brands focused on enhanced sales and service
- One Marketing Team working to provide advisors with turnkey tools to sell their distinctive brands
Says DaSilva: “Before, agents had to contact multiple brands when they were looking to book trips for their clients. Now it’s one contact. It’s a one-stop shop, all to benefit travel advisors. And it’s made booking TTC Tour Brands so much easier for our partners.”
Using the Travel Advisor Portal, agents choose their country at log-in, so content (including trip pricing) is customized.
The portal can be accessed here.
“Travel advisors love it,” DaSilva told Travelweek, when asked how agents were reacting to the new system. “Our online bookings from agents have skyrocketed. Before the pandemic, it was less than 10%. Now it’s more than 50%. Word is getting out in the retail travel community and people are becoming more comfortable with online tools.”
DaSilva added that the team has been very aware throughout the whole global reorganization of the importance of the Canadian market’s uniqueness – and not just treating Canada as an offshoot of the U.S. market. “We heard that loud and clear,” she told Travelweek. “That’s something we’re incredibly conscious of.”
Despite last year’s shakeup, TTC Tour Brands still has more than 200 staff in Canada.
DaSilva advised agents to keep an eye out for TTC Tour Brands’ new survey results, coming in a few weeks. The survey results on everything from travel intentions to travel concerns are based on responses from more than 16,000 of the company’s travellers.
“We couldn’t have done it without you,” she told agents as she wrapped up her remarks last night. She added that TTC Tour Brands is already well into 2024 for bookings, “and 2025 will be on sale in eight short weeks – earlier than ever.”