The Travel Agent Next Door Holds 5th Annual Supplier Appreciation Event
It’s been a fast ride since Flemming Friisdahl launched host agent The Travel Agent Next Door just 66 months ago. Sales volume has increased from $40 million in 2016 to $120 million last year and a projected $170 million in 2019.
(Left to Right): Erminia Gallina, General Manager, Air Canada Vacations; Brenda Yeomans, Strategic Sales & Market Manager, Celebrity Cruises; Derek Lloyd, National Director of Sales, Canada, Norwegian Cruise Line; Amanda Morris, Eastern Canada BDM, Playa Hotels & Resorts.
Next year, the sales goal is $220 million, which Friisdahl says would make TTAND the biggest host agency in the country.
Friisdahl has spent much of his career on the supplier side, and says he brought that mindset to TTAND. “In a successful relationship, everybody has to win. The supplier, the agent and The Travel Agent Next Door. That’s how we approach everything, and I think that’s why we’re succeeding.”
Penny Martin, VP Travel Agent Services, The Travel Agency Next Door; Rares Dumitru,
Sales Director, Canada, Rail Europe; Doreen Lynch, Director of Membership, ACTA,
Ron Lonsdale, Vice President, Collette.
Friisdahl says TTAND’s short list of 18 preferred suppliers account for 51% of total sales. Twenty-two approved suppliers get 31% of sales, while 435 others share 18%. “Who does that?” Friisdahl, asked the audience of 120 at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York. “That’s why suppliers support us – their ROI matters a lot to me.”
In 2019 TTAND grew to 435 Primary and 365 Associate agents. That represents an 18% growth in primary agents, but sales growth has far exceeded that number at 44%.
Chantal Podgorski, Senior Manager, Key Accounts, Air Canada, Susan Kooiman, Senior Business Development Representative, Key Accounts, Transat; Steve Goodfellow, Director of Sales, Eastern & Western Canada, Air Canada.
Currently TTAND has 42 head office staff supporting agents with Marketing, Accounting, Training, New Programs, Quality Control, Agent Support and Technology. That’s about one staff member for every 11 primary agents, which Friisdahl says is the highest ratio in the business.
Friisdahl says TTAND is also helping to rejuvenate the Canadian retail travel industry by bringing new people into the industry. The company has recruited and trained 110 Primary agents and more than 30 Associate agents who are completely new to the travel business.
Flemming Friisdahl, President & Founder, The Travel Agent Next Door; Giselle Williams, Business Development Manager, Central Ontario & Ottawa, Unique Vacations Canada; C.J. Smith, Senior National Sales Manager, Unique Vacations Canada; John O’Neill, Strategic Business Development Manager, Crystral Cruises.