TL Network Canada recently completed three in-person events for its travel agency members in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
Combined, more than 405 advisors and 137 supplier partners participated in the shows, "bringing a renewed sense of energy and optimism to the travel industry community," according to a press release issued Tuesday (Dec. 6).
This year’s PEAK theme enabled advisors to leverage the tools and training available to them to help grow their business (PEAK stands for “Programmes, Education, Advisors and Knowledge.”)
The events were designed to facilitate networking opportunities, roundtable discussions and trade shows.
"Never have I seen such enthusiasm and buzz than at our Canadian Fall Regional Conferences this year,” said TL Network’s Vice-President Christine James. “Our members were so engaged. The events provided excellent opportunities for both our owner/managers and frontline advisors to connect in-person with peers, to educate themselves about our top-notch agency enhancing programs and to learn how to tailor them to their own business needs."
"Each city offered an unforgettable day of innovation, learning and networking that has proven both popular and productive, year after year, and helps agencies get the most out of their valuable TL Network membership while having fun.”
Each Regional Conference challenged TL Network Canada members to leverage the tools and training available to continually help grow their business.
Events featured over three hours of workshops and panels that covered the technology, marketing and selling tools available to members, frontline agency training, and TL Network programme updates.
Following the educational sessions for each event, members met and networked with enthusiastic supplier partners during sold-out one-hour interactive trade shows, which were followed by a full course plated dinner and a fun and interactive game show experience where several grand travel prizes were awarded by TL Network’s supplier partners.
First-time attendee, travel advisor Robin Leblevec of Vancouver, BC, said it was "well-organized, and there was ample time allotted for presentations and the trade show experience, which was invaluable helped connect us with key suppliers in the travel industry."
"The intimacy of the event provided a fabulous opportunity for us to have conversations with not only our beloved suppliers but also other agents and TLN’s team."
Carolyn Bryant, owner of Let’s Go Travel in Burlington, ON, attended the Toronto stop and called it "inspiring, engaging and overall, an excellent event."
“We are always managing the most effective ways to invest time in our business, and TL Network’s Toronto Regional covered every facet, from training to marketing strategies and superb networking," she said.
"The quality of all attendees and exhibitors at the trade show showed the power of resiliency. I’ve been in this industry for over 30 years, and I still take away new learnings from this Conference so that we can continue to grow and keep one step ahead of the competition.”
Newcomers & strong sales
PAX was also at the Toronto event, where James shared the latest network numbers.
In 2020, during the first year of the pandemic, TL Network Canada welcomed 21 new members. That year-to-date amount grew to 42 in 2021, which is, notably, when The Travel Agent Next Door joined the network.
In 2022 alone, there’s been 39 newcomers year to date, bringing the total number of members in Canada to just below 700.
“We're not only signing up a lot of members, we're signing up really good quality members,” said James at the time.
TL Network’s supplier list is also expanding, adding 14 new companies – a combination of airlines, destinations and niche-market brands – to its portfolio this year.
Business, meanwhile, is also booming, James told us, saying that TL Network’s sales are exceeding 2019 numbers. (“Some of it is even into double digits,” she said).
Travellers are still booking longer-than-usual trips and opting for upgrades and group business – families reuniting, for example – is trending strong, James said.
And TL Network’s cruise sales – despite seeing a slower start in Canada due to government border and testing restrictions – are also seeing an uptick.
“The numbers look good for 2022, but in 2023 – no pun intended – I think we’ll blow it out of the water,” James said.