Celebrating Trade Partners With The Travel Agent Next Door
with Suzanne Christie
Travel Agent Next Door
President Flemming Friisdahl with Air Canada Vacations’ President & COO
l-r: TTAND Retiring V.P.
Finance Nancy Aube with new V.P. Finance Lynn Dovaston and Training Manager
TTAND “family” members l-r:
Elish Tait; Sanji Zaman; Vivian Imrisek; Rhonda Stanley; Flemming Friisdahl
& Sarah Wu
The Travel Agent Next Door
invited their trade partners to a celebration Thursday evening in their
downtown Toronto offices to toast the special relationships that have
contributed to their success since launching just 18 months ago.
Our industry wasn’t exactly
clamouring for a new agency group and there are so many challenges in starting
up any entrepreneurial venture, but Flemming Friisdahl was determined to
develop his ideas for retail success. His drive and enthusiasm were appreciated
by former colleagues and competitors alike who stepped up to support his new
venture from the get go.
As Transat V.P. Denise
Heffron said, “I knew Flemming would make it work or die trying”. She
seems to have been correct on the 1st point. TTAND sales year to
date are over $10 million in just their 2nd year of operation and
Flemming is predicting they will end the year at, or close to, the $15 million
mark. Not exactly huge numbers, but certainly respectable and worth the
investment by major suppliers such as Air Canada Vacations, WestJet,
TravelBrands, TravCorp, Globus family of brands and Collette who were all in
Our industry is not just a
numbers game and trusting those you know as competitors or partners is key to
meeting targets and achieving mutual success.
And, as Flemming stated, it’s
also critical to have a solid team at the TTAND head office supporting agents
and suppliers. As such, he says he has concentrated on building a group of good
people and treating them with respect. Since day 1, he seems to have achieved
that too, supported by Penny Martin (who was not able to be present for the
celebration... but, to whom Flemming alluded several times, wanting to
make sure Penny knew that).
Flemming also announced that
Lindsay Caven, just back to work following her maternity leave, has joined the
TTAND team as Manager, Supplier & New Agent Relations. Lindsay brings the TTAND
team to a total of 15 employees with 2 more coming online shortly.
Flemming reiterated that the
140 TTAND home based agents are focused on their preferred suppliers and their
goal is to support that group as opposed to the broad spectrum approach of
having deals with every operator.
Another TTAND mission is to
bring new agents into the business and they have signed up and trained 13
newbies so far with another 5 lined up to begin. Response has been very
positive from the agents who have completed their dedicated training program
which is operated by Travelsavers.