TL Continues Growth Spurt

with Martha Chapman

Christine James heads TL here in Canada

Darlene Mongoven, CTC, heading a packed agent seminar

It seems TL Network is on a roll – in a very good way. The association of retailers now has a membership numbering a whopping 7,100 in North America. 700 are in Canada, including the TL’s 38 newest members, who have joined so far this year.

“I’m pleased to see how far we’ve come from rebranding the old vacation.com, and seeing how our benefits are helping our members grow their business,” says Christine James, the consortium’s V.P. Canada. “We never rest on our laurels!”

The group now has five staff in Canada and 150 staff in the US providing services in IT, supplier relations, sales and more. The Canadian team includes industry veterans in sales Sue Urie (BC to Manitoba) and Suzanne Fleming (Ontario to Atlantic Canada) and a full-time inside sales coordinator.

So, who better to ask about trends for this winter?  Obviously there is a lot of uncertainty in the Caribbean, but James says that they are still seeing strong ITC sales with the booking window now expanding from 4 to 6 weeks to a healthier 2 to 3 months, thanks to EBBs. And while of course there is concern and sympathy for those islands and destinations affected by hurricanes and earthquakes, “I hear it’s going to be a tough winter weather-wise here in Canada, and to be honest, bad weather is good business for us.”

TL’s new certification programs are enjoying a modest but growing success, with designations of Destination Wedding and Honeymoons, Action/Adventure, Luxury and (for newcomers to the industry) Leisure Travel, all getting interest. Next up will be their Group Travel designation.

James mentioned that the event, held Thursday at the Sheraton on Dixon Road near YYZ, was the best-attended event of the year, with 130 agents and managers and 38 suppliers present. 




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