TORONTO — There were plenty of awards handed out at last night’s WestJet 2017 Travel Partner Awards event, all glittering and all showing off the success WestJet’s partners have seen selling WestJet and WestJet Vacations product to their clients.
A total of 13 awards were given out, recognizing everything from Top Growth Consolidator for WestJet to Top Revenue Growth for WestJet Vacations.
“Our travel partners play a significant role in the success of WestJet and WestJet Vacations and our annual Travel Partner Awards are just one way of saying we value you,” said Lyell Farquharson, Vice President, Sales and Distribution. “Every day, our TA partners help us deliver unforgettable travel experiences for our mutual guests, and we enjoy recognizing the dedication and support of the travel trade with this special evening.”
More than 200 agents attended the event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto last night, where guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a four-course meal. Sponsors included Bahia Principe, Barbados and AMResorts.
Here’s a list of the winners:
- WestJet, Top Revenue Growth: Merit
- WestJet, Top Guest Count Growth: Uniglobe West
- WestJet, Top Growth TMC: American Express GBT and HRG
- Bahia Principe, Top Growth Sales: Red Tag Vacations
- WestJet Vacations, Top Revenue Growth: Expedia
- WestJet Vacations, Top Guest Count Growth: TRAVELSAVERS
- AMResorts, Top Growth Sales: Expedia
- WestJet, Top PLUS sales growth: American Express GBT
- WestJet, Top U.S. Agency: Voyages a la Carte
- Barbados, Top Growth Sales: Ensemble Travel Group
- Top Growth, Online Travel Agency: Priceline
- Top Group, Incentive, Convention Sales: Uniglobe Premiere Travel
- Top Growth Consolidator: Huntington
Keynote speaker Ron Tite, Founder and CEO of The Tite Group, said the retail travel industry has seen plenty of upheaval but that travel agents are emerging from the fray stronger than ever. “The disruptors are the ones solving the problems that the establishment can’t or won’t solve – and we’re the establishment,” he said. The revolution started when people realized they could book their own travel: “We love the notion of power to the people, of DIY.”
But over time all that do-it-yourself travel booking has created a power vacuum. “People want expert advice, they want speed and efficiency, they want expertise. That’s why use of travel agents went up in 2016. People are coming back.” He added to laughs from the travel agents in the crowd: “People [booking their own travel] realized, they don’t actually want your job. They thought they did. They don’t.”