Celebrating A New Day With TravelBrands In Vancouver

with Ming Tappin

The TravelBrands team: (L to R) Bruce Lidberg, Tracy Poole, Zeina Gedeon, Jeff Carpenter & Nino Montagnese

Angela Meyer of ExpediaCruiseShipCenters Chilliwack was happy to see Wade Menard of Princess Cruises.

New ExpediaCruiseShipCenters agent Kelly Lilley met many suppliers, including Winston Chang of Sandals Resorts.

Agents packed the aisles at the trade show with 47 suppliers.

Jane Woodward of Sunrise Travel Services, ULC visited with Mavis Lau & Ian Patterson of MSC Cruises. 

300 travel agents attended the TravelBrands appreciation event held in Vancouver last week at the Sheraton Wall Centre hotel. An extensive trade show consisting of 47 suppliers filled the ballroom, followed by a state of the union address by TravelBrands CEO Zeina Gedeon, and key sponsor presentations by WestJet & Bahia Principe Resorts. As Bruce Lidberg, Director of Sales for Western Canada and Western Ontario took the stage to introduce the TravelBrands team, the house erupted in a huge cheer to welcome Tracy Poole back as BDM for British Columbia after a long absence. 

Although TravelBrands have been prominently featured in industry news over the last few months with its emergence from creditor protection, restructuring and rebranding, it is clear that the travel community had not given up on one of Canada's largest tour operators, judging by the enthusiastic turnout. 

Darren Single of Odenza Vacations was one of the supporters in attendance. He tells me that TravelBrands is one of their favourite suppliers, largely due to the fact that customer service and client support is always topnotch. Serving customers to their utmost ability and solving problems quickly is part of Odenza's motto, and Darren says that TravelBrands has never failed them in that aspect. Darren especially applauds the new We've Got Your Back - a 24/hour help desk for agents and consumers who need assistance for unforeseen emergencies after hours.

Kelly Lilley of Expedia CruiseShipCenters Maple Ridge drove all the way into town to attend the event, and was very glad that she did. Being new in the industry, she found the trade show tremendously educational and was thrilled to be able to meet with and speak to many suppliers. Armed with knowledge and contacts, she is now very eager to start making bookings. Kudos to her for taking the initiative to attend, as I continuously emphasize in my daily preachings that trade events like these are invaluable for agents new or experienced to gather information, network and build relationships. 

Suppliers I spoke with are also proud to be part of the family. Wade Menard of Princess Cruises was participating in a TravelBrands event for the 1st time, as all Princess itineraries are now available to book through Encore Cruises. Wade felt the event was well promoted and attended, which allowed him to meet many excited agents who now have an opportunity to book Princess and take advantage of Encore's dynamic packaging, offers and incentives.

Speaking of incentives, as a thank you for agents' support, TravelBrands is paying 1% bonus commission on FIT packages and cruises booked by May 14th. Clearly, TravelBrands is continuing to strengthen its relationship with the trade, and judging from the attendance, the trade is happy to reciprocate.

Ming  Tappin is a cruise veteran with over 20 years’ experience in the industry and has sailed on 38 cruises and counting. Based in Vancouver, Ming is Owner of www.yourcruisecoach.com

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