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. 

Agent Advantage

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

Spotlight Collection

  • 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

Groups

  • 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 

Agent portal

  • 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.

 

Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award: Sandals & Beaches Resorts

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

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.



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