Providing The Best Customer Experience Is "Mission Possible" For TDC
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
Transat Distribution Canada's regional conference came to Toronto over the weekend, bringing together 240 travel professionals at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre for a weekend of customized workshops, news announcements, engaging presentations, prizes and networking with 40 suppliers.
It all came together under this year's theme of "Mission Possible."
Louise Fecteau, TDC's newly appointed General Manager.
"We have a common mission and it is by working in the same direction that we will make it possible," said TDC's new General Manager, Louise Fecteau. "Equipped with an experienced team, we are making every effort to offer you uniquely competitive programs and tools. We believe that with you, it is possible to provide the best shopping experience to our customers."
And travel professionals are key to providing that exceptional customer experience, says Fecteau.
Some of the members of the TDC team.
"The mission for TDC is to keep the travel professional and our agencies being the best ones. To do that, we will provide them with the training and tools that they need to keep providing the best experience for the customer," she told Open Jaw. "A lot of research shows that people are coming back to travel agencies; they need travel agents. We know that we can find everything on the web, but the service and security that agents can provide is the reason that we believe they will be there forever."
The conference was dedicated to three pillars -- efficiency, innovation and experience – it is through the lens of these topics that the retail distributor is striving to innovate -- and there's lots on the horizon.
Joseph Adamo, Chief Distribution Officer & President of TDC, waves to the crowd as he is introduced.
New Preferred Suppliers
Five suppliers have been added to TDC's preferred partner lineup: Sentiers du Monde, Exodus Travels, Royal Irish Tours, Hanover Holidays and Sultana Tours.
"For the most part, they are marketing a niche product that meets the needs of an increasingly demanding clientele," said Fecteau.
eX par Voyages Transat
Most notable on the innovation side is the April 2019 opening of eX par Voyages Transat in Brossard, QC.
"We opened eX to define the agency of the future and the role of the travel professional of tomorrow, to test new concepts and processes, to evolve a consumer experience, and to provide agencies with differentiating features," said Fecteau.
eX by Voyages Transat, for example, is testing virtual business cards, a paperless environment, virtual reality videos and, launching in the coming weeks, the sense of smell.
"Diffusers will be installed and we will try to determine the best fragrance that reminds us of a relaxing and carefree holiday, and the effect that the smell can have on a consumers purchasing decisions," Fecteau said. "And believe me, we ruled out coconut."
In the coming months, agents will hear more about TDC's new Opulence program that will further improve TDC’s value proposition, provide customers with an ultimate travel experience and offer a wider selection of new suppliers.
The retail distributor signed an agreement several weeks ago with Amadeus, which adds to its offer of Sabre and TravelPort. This agreement expands TDC’s access to more global travel content from Amadeus’s content offering to deliver an even wider range of travel experiences to TDC customers.
TDC is currently building a 3.0 virtual training program that will offer interactive modules, video, personalized coaching, and simulation-based evaluation."
"Soon you will be able to measure your customer satisfaction as we will be providing you with a brand new customer survey. This tool is currently being tested in some agencies."
Approximately 240 agents attended the weekend-long Toronto regional conference, hosted at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre.
With a focus on building and improving the customer experience, TDC has implemented the mystery shopper program.
"Like you, we want to ensure that our customers receive a service that is in line with the brand we market. Like you, we want to ensure that tools and programs offered by TDC are being properly used across all our agencies. It is for that reason that we hired an external firm to conduct mystery shopper visits to more than 150 TDC agencies in Canada. Please, don’t see it as a negative. The goal is to gain insight as to how we can continue to provide our customers with the best customer experience in our agency."
L-R: Travel professionals Joanne Hutchinson, Tanya Giglio, Linda Harrison and Anthony Mormina.
Gift Card Relaunch
Also in line with customer experience, TDC is relaunching its proprietary gift card program, both in physical and virtual form. They can be purchased and redeemed across TDC's entire network and are redeemable on any product.
Fecteau also shared several teasers throughout her speech, telling agents to keep a lookout for "something extraordinary" to be announced soon for wedding packages, as well as a financing program that is soon to be finalized.
All these initiatives, said Fecteau, have one common goal: to provide TDC customers with a unique customer experience beyond just destinations or product, but also the value added and the service and expert advice provided by travel professionals.
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.