Execs Share Insider Views At Transat Winter Launch

with Martha Chapman

Bill Bowers, North American Sales Director for Decameron All Inclusive Hotels & Resorts

Jamaica Tourist Board's Philip Rose proffers a Jamaican inspired cupcake

Denise Heffron & Nicole Bursey

25 year flight attendant veteran Yolanda Fernandez

With the buzz of some 400 travel agents attending Transat’s Toronto fall launch in the background, Denise Heffron, V.P. National Sales & Commercial and Nicole Bursey, Commercial Director sat down for an exclusive chat with Open Jaw. The occasion? The 1st of the company’s 30 presentations across English Canada.

In all, the company expects it will host some 5,000 agents across Canada at the launches – an important touch point, Bursey told me, and a chance to remind agents of Transat’s product differentiation. “We’re still a very social industry, but the days of the massive shows hosting a thousand agents to just launch a brochure are gone,” says Heffron. And because Transat has the largest team of Business Development Representatives in the country, Bursey adds, these shows can pique an agent’s curiosity and he or she can request more in-house training.

As well as a trade show featuring some 60 suppliers, the evening provided insights into the company’s “Collections” – holidays grouped by target markets such as family, luxury, solo, and value-oriented sun-savvy. The company has kept all of its product from last winter and added some cool new offerings including:

  • Managua, Nicaragua from Toronto and the return of Cartagena, Colombia also from Toronto
  • More product for the solo traveller Collection – including some hotels with new, communal dining tables
  • Much greater availability of air-only (ITC operators have traditionally limited their air-only seats to ensure greater package sales). “There are so many ways for consumers to buy hotels, we wanted to be present when they are shopping for air,” Heffron told me. “And it’s all on the GDS.”
  • Greater availability of Europe in the winter – even daily flights YYZ-LGW – and sun destinations in the summer.
  • Marketing tools just for the home-based agent.

“By all indications it’s going to be a really cold winter – maybe Canadians will get the holiday they didn’t take last year because of the mild weather,” says Heffron.

And speaking of holidays, where’s she headed next? “To Sosua in the Dominican Republic.  “Can’t wait – I’ve never been there and want to check out a new bar called the Salty Rooster.” Bursey’s next sunny getaway will be Puerto Vallarta – “A Mexican classic!”

Attendees included Carolyn Robinson & Mary Pugh of TAND
and Mary Lou Coulton 
& Elizabeth Ritchie of Expedia CruiseShipCenters

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