It was a hot and steamy night in Toronto as 1,000 travel agents mingled with hoteliers, tourist board reps and Air Canada Vacations’ new brass to the beat of a drum band.
Toronto’s Muzik pavilion at Exhibition Place was bursting for the ACV winter launch last week. And the message to agents was clear: we are getting bigger, so get on board.
Craig Landry, newly minted President of Air Canada Leisure Group, was an enthusiastic participant– even jumping off the stage to draw business cards for the prize draws. He showed himself eager to meet and get to know as many people as possible.
Landry took agents through a presentation of the difficult market conditions affecting travel, not least of which being the cost of rooms in USD – effectively increasing Canadian rates by 40%.
But as agents heard from George Platanitis, Vice President, Sales & Partnerships, ACV is going all-in with the biggest winter program in its history – up 17% in capacity and with a vast portfolio of 600 resorts. Seats from YYZ will increase by 15%, YUL by 20% and YVR by 130%.
New product offerings include a domestic program with fly and drive packages in Canada, escorted tours and city stays. Cruising will also be packaged out of select gateways with air, cruise, transfers and taxes all in one price.
But the news that brought down the house was the ability for agents to confirm seat selection for their clients online, and earn the commission.
The operator is also responding to increased online demand with an upcoming B2C2B platform through Softvoyage’s TTS system. Dynamic packaging is also on the agenda within the next 24 months. Open Jaw asked ACV’s Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Sun Markets,what that will entail:
“We are currently finalizing a new dynamic packaging system for all our FIT products. This will allow our partners to package our products any way they like. We will continue to sell our traditional products as we do today, via all channels. This is just going to give one more channel and a lot more products. “
Overall, there was no doubt that ACV is staking a claim and having every intention of filling its 44 Rouge aircraft over the winter season. Let’s hope that heat wave turns to winter storms very soon.
Nino Montagnese, George Platanitis & Craig Landry get serious about picking prize winners