WestJet Wows In T.O.

with Martha Chapman

That impressive new brochure

Annika Klint, repping Elegant Hotels of Barbados, with WestJetter Lyell Farquharson, V. P. Sales & Business Development

Amy and Olivia lent an authentic note to the large Vegas display area

Some of the smiling faces from the WS groups department

Pat Smith & Todd Linley, promoting WS corporate product

It can take a lot to get Toronto travel agents excited. But it was a pretty jazzed group (all 550 or so of them, including some notable retail head office execs) who attended last week’s hugely successful WestJet winter launch at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Along with some 100 exhibiting partners, the show was the last of 6 major launches across the country – and there are some 6 additional shows planned for the fall in smaller centres. “In all we’ve hosted some 2,000 agents so far,” WS events coordinator Julia Tsang told me.

Trade show booths featured a wide array of partners from tourist boards to hoteliers, attractions to WestJet’s own departments. For example, at the WS Groups booth, I learned that there’s a team of 58 in YYC, with specialties in sports and schools, tours, weddings as well as incentive & corporate. Just 10 airseats or 5 rooms will entitle your clients to group rates.

At the WS Corporate booth the buzz was about the new booking tool WestJet Biz which will feature hotels, cars and multi-city air options to the existing air-only feature. “Plus agents and clients love the corporate bank credits which refund, for example, unused flights to the company – not the individual,” WestJetter Pat Smith said.

Another star of the show is the impressive new WS brochure – all 324 pages of it.  The 1st brochure in 4 years to feature individual hotel descriptions, it has exceeded expectations, Marketing Coordinator Jessica Greschner says. “Every city we’ve visited, agents are very excited to see it.” Echoed Vice President of Sales & Distribution Lyell Farquharson: “The feedback and support at these shows has been wonderful – and the new brochure? It’s great!”

It was 3 years ago that WestJet Vacations went entirely digital with their sun brochure but the feedback they received from agents was that they wanted a print brochure and WestJet listened. They re-launched their print brochure last year and went even bigger and better with a full on magazine style and quality edition this year.

Not just the agents were happy to be at the show. Robin Danes of Bermuda commented: “WestJet has done a terrific job – it’s a very relaxed atmosphere, there’s time to talk to everyone, and the WestJet team is so friendly.”

Perhaps another reason for the good vibe? Unlike most evening presentations, attendees didn’t have to wait for the meat of the evening (so to speak) to be over before they could eat.  A generous buffet was available from the moment the doors opened so that agents could grab a bite between trade show visits. Well thought out, and well received.  Well done, WestJet!

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