We keep hearing that sales are down for travel agents across Canada. The usual summer slowdown - or something more serious? So, Open Jaw took to the streets – or to be more accurate, the hallways of Toronto's International Plaza Hotel, the venue for this week's Travel MarketPlace, to get a finger on the pulse.
In response to the question, “So, how's business? Experiencing a slow down?" here are the thoughts of some of those attending...
According to Jason Swaye of Vision Travel, he's “busy, very busy." His American clients are asking for Cuba and Canadians are booking destinations such as Italy and Croatia – but very last minute - within weeks of travel. "They want to be spontaneous".
From Winnipeg, Ron Pradinuk of Renaissance Travel told me: "We're seeing a move to small groups who want to travel together - say, 8 couples who want to take a cycling holiday. Sure we slow down in the summer, but that's typical for the Prairies and overall the future is quite positive."
"We are a bit slow for the short term, but future travel is going through the roof, especially our longstay vacations," was the word from Christine Arthur of Merit Travel.
TPI's Rhonda LaFosse finds business "Up slightly, with a great demand for river cruises, girlfriend getaways and other groups. The boomers have all 'done' the sun resorts and want something more active, like soft adventure."
Jennifer Doncsecz in from VIP Vacations Inc. of Bethlehem, PA reports that their Fort McMurray branch is loving the new ITCs from there. "Insanely popular - especially destination weddings. Romance sure is big up there! We've been open for just 1 year and already have 3 full-time agents."
Last word goes to Syndi Prokopich from Charleswood Travel in Winnipeg: “I've been busy with Europe inquiries and bookings, and clients looking for vacations out west or maybe to Montreal – a reflection of the dollar, for sure. Am I busier than last year? Definitely."
So, we certainly didn't detect a definitive downward trend as per the dooomsayers. Our industry is very diverse… and there are so many different business models out there. Let us know how your summer is shaping up…