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Tuesday,  June 18, 2024 8:21 PM 

On Location: “This is a rocket ship”: Suppliers, agents light up Tisson Travel launch in Calgary

On Location: “This is a rocket ship”: Suppliers, agents light up Tisson Travel launch in Calgary
From left: Sandra Knox, JWS Travel; Tannis Dyrland, owner/founder, Tisson Travel Group; Britt Jamieson, Travel by Britt; Jody Taylor, Uplift Travel. (Renee Tsang/Pax Global Media)

It was an evening of cozy familiarity, comfort and revelry for an exciting future.

Suppliers and travel advisors gathered on Friday (Sept. 8) at PZA Parlour in Calgary –with Italian pizza, pasta and Prosecco in hand – to toast new beginnings.

It felt like an industry family reunion, with many familiar faces, primarily Calgary-based business development managers and travel suppliers.

Still, a few travelled from out of province to celebrate the highly-anticipated launch of Tisson Travel Group, a new venture at the helm of Tannis Dyrland and her team.

“When I first heard that Tannis and her team were starting Tisson Travel, I immediately booked a flight. There was no way I was going to miss this event!” exclaimed Freddie Marsh, a business development manager at Playa Resorts, who is based in Vancouver, B.C.

Carlo Trinidad, business development manager of Hyatt Inclusive Resorts, also based in Vancouver, was in Calgary doing sales calls in Southern Alberta during the week, but revised his return flight home to attend the event.

From left: Freddie Marsh, Playa Resorts; Irene Wong, WestJet Vacations; Carlo Trinidad, Hyatt Inclusive Resorts. (Pax Global Media)

As PAX first reported last week, Tisson Travel was born out of a need to elevate and support travel advisors in Alberta with exclusive benefits, perks, mentorship and access to suppliers.

The company is not a host agency, but a “community where people can make their own decisions," said Dyrland, who broke free of her host agency to go independent and launch the company.

READ MORE: Tannis Dyrland launches Tisson Travel Group, a “community” for Alberta-based travel advisors

Unlike many host agencies, Tisson doesn’t split commissions on service fees and members have the ability to choose their own preferred suppliers.

From left: Leslie Schaff, Globus Family of Brands; Carlo Trinidad, Hyatt Inclusive Collection; Christopher Brothers, TRAVELSAVERS Canada; Irene Wong, WestJet Vacations; Tina Kensett, Air Canada Vacations. (Pax Global Media)

The Tisson community is part of a consortia (TRAVELSAVERS), but “there is no tier system” when it comes to booking brands, said Dyrland, who built the company alongside Ryan McElroy of Travel Agency Tribes.

Each agent is empowered to grow their own business with a customized backend and marketing tools, and develop their own branding within their specialized niche markets, Dyrland said.

The new company includes Sandra Knox, owner of JWS Travel in Red Deer, providing customized client experiences; Britt Jamieson, owner of Travel by Britt, a traveller at heart who works with women travelling together and families looking for adventures and Jody Taylor, who blends her love of fitness and travel as owner of a group of F45 fitness studios and Uplift Travel in Okotoks.

From left: Sharon Kramer, Manulife; Christine Guy, Travel and Repeat; Ana Santa Maria, G Adventures. (Pax Global Media)

Rounding out the team are two agents who were not in attendance at the launch, but were dearly missed (they are hosting a group travelling through Jordan at this time).

They include Breanne Davis, owner of Sonder Somewhere, a solo traveller specialist; and Hannah Ormiston, who owns Indulge Travel Co, where young travellers go for luxury experiences.

Speaking to PAX at the party, Dyrland shared some insight into her vision.

“It is apparent by the overwhelming support tonight that there is a requirement for advocacy and presence in Alberta and Western Canada,” she said. “A community of agents coming together to support one another, knowing they have a common requirement to succeed in an area of the country that has been tremendously underserved. It’s what we needed in this industry.”

From left: Jordon McGrowder, Sandals Resorts; Vicky Lubyk, Paul Gauguin Cruises; Tannis Dyrland, Tisson Travel Group. (Pax Global Media)

Excitement is in the air as the unmistakable presence of Western Canadian travel specialists collaborating is building a strong sense of community over competition.

Travel suppliers spotted at Friday’s launch included representatives from WestJet Vacations, Air Canada Vacations, Exoticca, Manulife, Globus Family of Brands, TRAVELSAVERS Canada, Paul Gauguin Cruises, G Adventures, Hyatt Inclusive Collection, and Playa Resorts, all of which expressed their congatulations and well wishes for the future.

Freddie Marsh, Playa Resorts; Tannis Dyrland, Tisson Travel Group (left);  Sharon Wilson, Exoticca; Tannis Dyrland, Tisson Travel Group (right). (Pax Global Media)

“This business is about relationships,” said Sharon Wilson, director of sales – Prairie Provinces for Exoticca. “We have had a wonderful working relationship with Tannis and can only imagine how fantastic her venture will be.”

Christopher Brothers, director of business development for TRAVELSAVERS Canada, echoed similar sentiments – particularly having left and returned to the travel industry.

“Being in the travel industry meant something—a sense of family in the travel community, especially in Calgary. I couldn’t be prouder, happier sitting with everyone in the room,” Brothers said. “Tisson Travel. It’s making waves. People are taking notes. This is a rocket ship. It’s taking off, and there’s no stopping it.”

From left: Kevin Pikkert, Compass Vacations; Tannis Dyrland, Tisson Travel Group; Ursula Gut, The Travel Agent Next Door. (Pax Global Media)

Dyrland shared her heartfelt appreciation for her supporters and partners.

“You’re in my backyard. It’s so lovely to have support in our backyard to build this. Alberta strong. You understand what we deal with in Alberta, and the lack of what we don’t have in Alberta. We are going to do Alberta proud. We are going to fly.”

Alberta-based travel agents/agencies interested in joining the Tisson Travel community can visit the company’s website here for more information.

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