Thinking Beyond The Bucket List At YVR ‘Ensemble Extraordinary’ Event

with Vickie Sam Paget

Lindsay Pearlman, Ensemble Travel Group co-president.

Ana Danut, travel agent at TravelOnly, with Cathy Denroche Browne, regional sales and marketing director for Western Canada at Oceania Cruises.

The G Adventures crowd: Aziz Sheikh, director of marketing, Karly Cook, regional sales manager, and Stephan Popescu, trade marketing specialist.

Peter Nowicki, district sales manager for Western Canada at Crystal Cruises, Claire Rottaire, regional sales manager at Insight Vacations, and Brad Ford, president of Insight Vacations.

It was a day of first-class education and insight for the 110 travel agents who attended the ‘Ensemble Extraordinary’ event at Vancouver’s gorgeous Rosewood Hotel Georgia this week.

The day’s training featured a ‘From Ordinary to Extraordinary’ presentation, a niche partner exchange, luxury partner stints and a cocktail reception with a prestigious selection of suppliers including Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Melia International, Crystal Cruises and G Adventures.

As agents happily mingled at the cocktail reception, Open Jaw caught up with Ensemble Travel Group co-president, Lindsay Pearlman.

While the majority of travel professionals are happy to hijack the ‘bucket list’ concept in a bid to put more bums in seats, Pearlman says he’s kicked the bucket list habit.

“For me personally, I don’t even have a bucket list anymore. I go to places that should be on my bucket list that I didn’t even know existed!” he laughed.

“If you take a look at what we do here at Ensemble Extraordinary, it’s really about unique, luxury product. A lot of it is off-the-beaten path or small-ship experiences or destinations that people won’t even think of. People are looking for something that is different and engaging and exciting – and that’s what this type of product does.”

Which is all well and good, but why is attending an event like Ensemble Extraordinary so important for today’s travel agent?

“The reality of it is that the product changes every single year,” explained Pearlman. “So whenever you hear somebody say “I don’t need training; I know enough,” you’re looking at somebody who’s going to be in trouble in the very near future.

“It’s about the detail. It’s one thing to go to a trade show and pick up a brochure, but it’s another thing to actually go into a workshop and ask questions. At the end of the day people are going to sell what they’re comfortable selling, and that takes training and education.

“In the long term, they’ll make more money, they’ll retain loyalty and they’ll offer the experiences that the customer won’t get shopping online.”

And who can argue with that?

Vickie Sam Paget

Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent

Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.

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