Air Canada’s Edna Ray Named Mayor of Vancouver at ACTA Event!
Vickie Sam Paget, Open Jaw
The Air Canada team: Steve Goodfellow, director of sales for Eastern and Western Canada; “Mayor of Vancouver” Edna Ray, regional sales manager for BC; and Chris Geraghty, senior key account manager at Air Canada.
ACTA president Wendy Paradis with ACTA director of membership Doreen Lynch and ACTA events co-ordinator Deanne Mills.
Emma Madsen, BDM for Western Canada at the Jamaica Tourist Board.
Christine Boecker of TravelBoecker Adventures and Rhonda Dashevsky of Personal Travel Management.
Robert Cole of Allianz and Brid Dunne of Fresh Tracks.
I’ll come clean: she’s not REALLY the Mayor of Vancouver… but that certainly didn’t stop 80 travel agents from across Western Canada whooping and cheering with delight when the Air Canada BC regional sales manager was mentioned during a speech at ACTA’s Travel Agent Appreciation Day harbour cruise in Vancouver this week.
One of the favourite faces in the Western Canada travel industry, Ray was introduced as the “Mayor of Vancouver” during a celebratory speech by the charismatic Steve Goodfellow, Air Canada’s director of sales for eastern and western Canada. The tongue in cheek comment came in response to the crowd’s enthusiastic reaction to Ray’s name.
“Mayor of Vancouver Edna Ray, and Chris Geraghty (senior key account manager at Air Canada) -- these two are the best,” enthused Goodfellow. “Thanks for your passion and commitment to Air Canada, and most importantly, the commitment you guys demonstrate day-in-day-out to our agency partners.”
Speaking during the harbour cruise, ACTA president Wendy Paradis highlighted current key issues the association is addressing; travel health insurance, changes to the Ontario Travel Industry Act, debit memos and professional development and certification.
“We offer webcasts and podcasts and we really focus on something called ‘Just in Time’ learning. So if we hear something that’s going on in the industry, our team puts together some education really quickly. They are not the most exciting things in the world, however, they’re vital for you to run a successful business.”
She also said ACTA is a listening ear for travel agents across Canada, and is currently working on social media campaigns to attract a younger clientele as a result of travel agent feedback.
“In our member survey you told us that one of the things you’d like us to do is promote the value of the travel agent to the consumer -- predominantly younger consumers. So in January we embarked on a social media initiative with influencers across the world about why working with a travel agent is fantastic.
“That initiative is going tremendously well and our travel agents have really embraced it. They’re following and re-posting, so if you’re not working with that, I really suggest that you give it a try because we are finding that travel agents are able to build a business through Facebook and Instagram.”
Goodfellow had some serious matters to discuss too, as he tackled the “elephant in the room” that is Bill C-49 (the bill that gives the Canadian Transportation Agency the authority to develop rules within a Passenger Bill of Rights.)
“From Air Canada’s standpoint, customer service within a cost effective framework is our priority and our core initiative. What’s immediately important to us is for our agency partners to ensure direct customer contact info is provided for all our travellers. This will allow you and Air Canada to work together to ensure we can reach them, if necessary, in a timely manner.”
Serious matters aside, there was no dampening the spirits of 80 travel agents sipping signature cocktails on a beautiful evening dinner cruise.
As ACTA’s director of membership, Doreen Lynch put it during a toast: “Tonight is about having fun and celebrating the job that you do. It is a very difficult job—and everyone in this room knows it -- so cheers to yourselves!”
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.