Advisors Highlighted As ACV's Link To Consumers At Sun Collection Launch
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Some of the ACV exec dream team. L-R: Dana Gain, Senior Director of Sales; Erminia Nigro, General Manager; Dina Bertolo, VP of Product Development; Robert Reed, Manager of National Accounts.
L-R: Seve Williams, BDM; Steven Johnson, Sr. Manager; and Paul Strachan, Sr. Director, Canada with the Bahamas Tourist Office
L-R: Shirley Lam, Manager of Product Development with ACV; Angella Bennett, Regional Director of Tourism for Canada with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB); Gary Sadler, Senior Vice President of Unique Vacations; Racquel Queensborough, JTB BDM.
Sandra Angula, Sales Manager with Hard Rock Hotel Cancun (left) and Sarah Smith, Regional Director of Business Development with AIC Hotel Group.
Ana Ramirez, Director of Sales USA & Canada (left) and Andre Islas Morris, BDM with Hotel Xcaret.
L-R: Dana Omstead, co-owner of Migrations Travel and Cruises; Christine James, VP Canada, TL Network; Anju Bliss, Account Manager, TL Network; Helga Omstead, co-owner of Migrations Travel and Cruises.
L-R: Tracy Denman-Hughes, Sales and Marketing Director with Caribbean Collection Barbados and Barbados Tourism Marketing's Brita Greaves and Jason Yearwood.
ACV's Managing Director Nino Montagenese announced the 2019 award winners.
New collection features home-based support, enhanced ACV&Me program, expanded Spotlight & more
Ask and you shall receive.
Travel advisors have been asking for improvements and giving suggestions -- and Air Canada Vacations has been listening.
That was the key message at the tour operator's 2019/2020 Sun Collection product launch in Vaughan, ON on 19SEP, the fifth and final stop on the #ACVDreammakers Tour.
"The overriding message at the product launches is that you gave us your feedback and we're listening. Underlying all of the other messages is that singular message. We want to be a good partner and there's always things that you can do better," says Dana Gain, Senior Director of Sales.
More than 1,000 travel advisors attended the Toronto showcase for a merry evening of top-notch entertainment (which included performances by comedian Erica Sigurdson and musician Karl Wolf), great food, prizes, mingling with some 60 key travel suppliers and an intimate opportunity to learn about the new features rolled out in the 2019 Sun Collection.
It was also the first year that ACV held awards at the event, handing out prizes to some of its most esteemed partners. Among them, Sandals and Beaches Resorts received a Lifetime Achievement Award and Transat Distribution Network was named Network Partner of the Year. A complete list of winners is included at the end of the article.
Gain told trade media that travel advisors are more than just sales partners for ACV, but also act as a direct conduit to the consumer, and a vital link to hearing what travellers want.
"The trade community is closest to the customer. We are not as close to the customer; we are close to the trade. So we are one step removed from the buying process. We need to be close to our travel partners in order to know what it is the customer wants," she says.
"The customer is telling the travel agents what they would like to see and we're listening to that. So it's not just about listening to how to be easier to do business with the trade; it's about listening to what the customer wants."
World In Your Hands
ACV execs urged agents to think of the tour operator as a global packaged vacation provider.
"Don't just think about sun – think about the world," said Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, adding that the operator is striving to truly be a one-stop-shop for all agent needs.
Erminia Nigro, General Manager, pointed out that ACV, with 63 connectors across Canada, continues to diversify its product – including short and long stays, city and beach combos and niche luxury getaways – as well as extending its global reach. For example, something many agents may not know is that ACV can put packages together in Asia and the South Pacific.
The 2019 Sun Collection features more than 750 resorts (mostly all-inclusive) in 40 sunny destinations. That massive figure includes 63 new resorts, 28 resorts semi-exclusive to ACV and four that are exclusive the operator.
Here’s a snapshot look at some 2019 Sun Collection highlights and new features:
New Flights ACV is offering more capacity with three additional new flights to sun destinations: YQB-CUN starting 21DEC YQB-PUJ starting 22DEC YOW-VRA starting 23DEC
175 new additions for the Spotlight Collection
U.S. Spotlight Collection & Cruise Spotlight Collection
U.S. & Cruise are brand-new offers in the Spotlight Collection
More than 100 cruises offered in partnership with Carnival Cruise Line
U.S. Spotlight includes California, Hawaii and Las Vegas
ACV Cruise Promise
If you find a flight with Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge at a lower price, ACV will pay for the flight.
No deposit on flights when booked up to 30 days before departure
Flights are 100% refundable with 1 name change permitted up to 30 days prior to travel
Expanded Play Program
140 participating hotels, aimed at helping agents find hotels that are perfect for kids, offering special perks where kids under 12 eat, play and stay for free, and get priority boarding
Play Program expanded to Florida, California, Hawaii & Las Vegas
Return of Agent Incentive Program
Agents receive 2 free air seats if they book a minimum of 60 seats
The groups call centre will now be open on Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to provide agent support
Book 10 pax with a $500 non-refundable deposit and hold up to 20 more passengers with no deposit.
ACV&Me Loyalty Program
Added instant redemption and more ways to earn & burn points
New ACV@Home Program
The ACV@Home Program is specially designed to support agents working from home or host agencies, offering training, national ASM support and marketing support
ACV Inner Circle
ACV Inner Circle, a closed Facebook group for agents, was created to improve communication with the trade and get messaging, promotions and news out faster, as well as receiving feedback
Phase 2 will debut in 2020, incorporating an intuitive and modern user experience, cross-sell opportunities, search fields & tabs, improved cruise booking process and easier agent management for agencies.
Supporting the Bahamas
Gain announced that $10 from every passenger booked with ACV will be donated to post-hurricane relief efforts in the Bahamas – that applies to all packaged ACV departures from all gateways until the end of the year.
Exclusive Cruise Spotlight Collection Partner: Carnival Cruise Line
Best Luxury Product: Jade Mountain Resort, Saint Lucia
Rising Star Partner: Catalonia Hotels & Resorts
Award of Excellence: Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts
Award of Distinction: Blue Diamond Hotels & Resorts
2019 Network Partner of the Year: Transat Distribution Canada
2019 Breakout Partner of the Year: TravelOnly
2019 Online Travel Agency Partner: Red Label Vacations
2019 Groups Partner of the Year: TL Network
2019 Diversification Award: Ensemble Travel Group
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.