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 Eamonn Ferrin

l-r: TTAND Retiring V.P. Finance Nancy Aube with new V.P. Finance Lynn Dovaston and Training Manager Bernadine D’Souza

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 attendance. 

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. 

All well worth celebrating!

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