Agents Get Their Groove On At Vancouver WestJet Event

with Vickie Sam Paget

The WestJet sales team spread the word in Vancouver.

Sal Buccellato, Bahia Principe’s national accounts director for Canada.

Tami Brown, product manager at WestJet Vacations with Rodrigo Diaz de Rivera, Mexico Tourism Board’s managing director in Western Canada.

Jamie Davis and Heidi Lebedoff, travel agents at Flight Centre.

The Uniglobe Specialty Travel team: Doug Ravel, Nora Norris, Jessielyn Stevens and Stacy Thorson.

Lynne White, Velas Resorts’ regional sales manager for Western Canada with Jenna Matthews, destination wedding and honeymoon specialist at Maritime Travel.

It’s not at every travel industry event that you get to see a travel agent do a cartwheel…

But that’s exactly what happened at WestJet’s lively Travel Trade Expo in Vancouver this week.

This uber-popular event attracted some 70 suppliers and 500 agents --  the majority of whom were giddy with excitement at the sheer number of prizes that were up for grabs!

The airline’s director of agency sales, Jane Clementino, and its BDM for BC & Yukon, Emily Spadafora, provided agents with all the latest company news -- along with a good dash of humour, some great giveaways and a few games of heads-and-tails.

One in six agents who attended the event walked away with prizes ranging from WestJet Dollars to network-wide tickets. And as they collected their prizes they were encouraged to dance down the aisles -- a request that saw one Carlson Wagonlit agent performing a cartwheel as she made her way to the stage!

The enthusiasm at the event was high, as Clementino explained: “The vibe is great. What’s nice about this is that when you come back three years in a row, people get to know you a little bit. Our main message of the night is that we are trade-friendly, and we will continue to listen to the trade all the time.”

There was certainly plenty of good WestJet news to report: 50 consecutive profitable quarters; improved connectivity; nine new lounges in the works at Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto for 2019; the arrival of the airline’s new Dreamliner 787s; and WestJet’s entrance onto the global stage.

The secret of WestJet’s success? A lot of it has to do with the ability to diversify, according to Clementino.

“When we started in 1996 we were a value carrier,” she explained. “We didn’t play in the thrift market and we didn’t play in the luxury market. Now we are. We have Swoop, which starts in June. That will allow us to play in that thrift market, which is the biggest-growing market in the world. And then we have our 787s coming -- they will allow us to have business class lay-flat pods and they are going to look absolutely outstanding.”

Clementino stressed that as the airline diversifies its offering, it’s keeping its eyes firmly fixed on the prize: To become “the most caring global airline” by 2022.

“How do we do this?” she asked, “We do it by living and breathing our values. We act like owners, we care from the heart and do the right things all the time. We rise to the challenge. As we enter the global stage, we have to pursue excellence in everything that we do.”

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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