Vacation.com On The Limping Loonie: It’s Not Armageddon
Open Jaw by Martha Chapman
The Chinese calendar may say we’ve entered the year of the
monkey, but if you chat with the folks at Vacation.com you’d think we’re in the
year of the travel agent.
The consortium’s Canadian numbers have grown to 758 agencies
– up 74 in the past year. Nexion, their at-home agent arm, recently recruited
its 200th agent. And almost ¾ of their Canadian members say their
2016 bookings are on a par with, or higher, than this time last year.
In a conversation with Open Jaw, President John Lovell and
Canadian V.P. Christine James shared other news from the group that is always
keen to remain ahead of the curve.
James is particulary excited about VYP – Vacation.com’s
Young Professionals group for agents under 40. Last fall’s events in Vancouver
and Toronto were such a success that participating suppliers have already
signed up for this year – and a spring event is under consideration.
Both James and Lovell are extremely optimistic about the organization’s
annual international conference, slated for Hollywood, Florida in May.
“There are 3 main components,” Lovell explained. “Education, the trade show –
one of the best and largest in the industry, with over 200 exhibitors – and
networking. It’s a huge bonus for our members to have access to the highest
levels of industry executives the way they do at our conferences.” And, he
added, perhaps a 4th component: having fun.
Hard to talk state-of-the-union without addressing the
limping loonie. “Yes it’s disheartening,” said James, “But it’s great that so
many suppliers such as the luxury cruise lines are trying to get in front of it
with specials for Canadian residents. Plus we have the weather on our side:
when it gets too cold Canadians simply have to get out of the country
And what does the V.com crystal ball show for the rest of
2016? “We turned the new year in a very good position, and though the past few
weeks have proven difficult with the stock market, I’m an optimist and think people
will want to take a vacation and recharge their batteries,” Lovell told me.
“It’s not Armageddon – just a different market and we’ll get through it. We