The Pasta's The Thing At Transat's Europe Academy

with Ming Tappin

The Transat Team: (l-r) Dean Neville, Sales Manager; Fiona Schonewille, BDM Vancouver & Vancouver Island and Chad Burnett, BDM Southwestern Ontario

Jennifer Sarjeant & Matthew Ryan of Odenza Travel enjoying the trade show as Lisa Willey of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises looks on.

Partners in crime Colin Price & Shane Buksh of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

(l-r) Cheryl Gray; Marilynne Friedman; Nora Norris; Jessie Stevens all from Uniglobe Travel; Bonnie Game, Expedia CruiseShipCenters & Donella Chong, Uniglobe Travel

Transat Holidays' Europe 2016 Academy took place in Burnaby last week featuring a large trade show with 30 suppliers including cruise lines, hoteliers, tourist boards and tour operators. After dinner, the Transat team - consisting of BDMs Fiona Schonewille & Chad Burnett; Sales Manager Dean Neville and Director Group Sales Debbie Girard - presented the 2016 Europe program.

About 130 agents attended the event, confirming Transat as a popular supplier partnering with agencies to bring Canadian travellers to Europe. Many agents I spoke with were delighted with the choice of programs and flexible options being offered this year to Europe.

Matthew Ryan of Odenza Vacations and co-worker Jennifer Sarjeant have been working with Transat to promote their offers to their clients for years. Both found the evening very entertaining and informative. Matthew especially likes Transat's multi-city packages as his clients can visit different places all in one trip, with hotels and transfers taken care of. 

Even seasoned agents coming to product launches time and time again learned something new, proving the importance of continuing education. I met a contingent from Uniglobe Travel who came to show support for their preferred supplier. All of them sell Transat Holidays but few knew about Option Flex which is an add-on purchased at time of booking that allows clients to change departure date, destination or hotel up to 72 hr. prior to departure, transfer the booking to a friend or family, or receive a full refund if they are not able to travel. A smart way to offer clients peace of mind and nice ancillary income for the agents as it is commissionable. 

The big welcoming news for Vancouver is the direct flights to Rome starting this June. In fact, Italy was prevalent in the evening as local suppliers were on hand at the trade show, and every agent received a package of organic pasta in their tote bag. Agents even commented that the customary pasta dinner at every Transat launch was this time a very appropriate tie-in with the announcement. To which I say, pasta Transat brochure to your clients and say Ciao to Europe in 2016!

Ming Tappin is a cruise veteran with over 20 years’ experience in the industry and has sailed on 37 cruises and counting. Based in Vancouver, Ming is Owner of

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