Agents from Woodstock’s
Destinations Travel & Cruise Lisa Doney;
Amy Jonker; Tamara Ryan & Susan Eldridge
Cheryl McDonald; Vivian Warren;
Susan Whitford & Pat Kuypers, all of
Cruise Holidays, Lindsay
Let’s face it, we all love to moan about the industry.
Not enough money! Too long hours! Well you won’t find much moaning from
John Lovell, President of Vacation.com ,or its Canadian V.P., Christine James.
The pair were in attendance at one of the consortium’s
annual Regional Fall Meetings, this one in Toronto at the Sheraton Toronto
Airport Hotel. Some 161 agents attended, along with 47 suppliers –in all there
were 4 events held in the GTA, attracting some 550 agents. This marks the 17
year for such training, networking and corporate updating events.
First, a snapshot. Since I last met with the V.com folks in
February, they have continued to go from strength to strength, adding 64
agencies in Canada year to date to now total over 740. They are now up to
25,000 travel advisors across North America. And, according to James, ITC
sales here in the Great White North are up between 10 and 28%, depending on the
supplier. “This reflects both our agents up-selling from, say, 3 to 4
star properties, and directing their sales to our preferred ITC suppliers.”
The only bump in the road, according to both, is the
scenario of aging agents – with not enough replacements on the horizon. “But
here in the industry we have a great story to tell!” says Lovell. “Airline
capacity is up over 4% this year. Cruise capacity is up 8% – and 70% of all
cruises are sold by travel agents! If I were a young, entrepreneurial
person, I’d be happy to put other people’s capital to work. This is a
long-term growth industry.”
Hence V.com’s own association for its agents under 40 – VYP
(V.com Young Professionals) which hosted a meeting attended by some 20 Toronto
members this week; plus Travel Leaders of Tomorrow, the consortium’s own
online travel school.