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Thursday,  June 13, 2024 4:27 AM 

Montagnese discusses the return of Groups, TravelGenie

  • Air
  •   04-21-2015  9:30 am

Montagnese discusses the return of Groups, TravelGenie

It's been less than three months since Nino Montagnese joined TravelBrands as the senior vice-president for Sunquest and Holiday House, but he has wasted no time implementing initiatives designed to benefit the company’s travel trade partners.

At least, that's what he's hoping for by introducing incentives for travel agents to work with the recently re-launched Groups department and most recently, the return of TravelGenie Classic.

In an interview with PAX, Montagnese recapped how Sunquest closed down its Groups department for some time in an effort to strategize the best method of operation after rolling-out a new business model in 2013. Now, having re-opened about six months ago, the Groups department is once again working closely with agencies across Canada using an approach that the SVP said is unique in the industry.

Firstly, eight people consisting of any mix of adults and children qualify as a group, even if they are travelling from various gateways across Canada, he said. Free seating arrangements to ensure the party is all seated together on their departure and return flights plus free private transfers for groups of 10 or more arriving on the same flight are also among the benefits Sunquest says it offers, in addition to a reduced deposit of $150 per person when booking 45 days prior to departure.

Various offers are now available with a variety of resort partners to motivate group bookings, such as deals like ‘book eight adults and the ninth travels free’ from Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts and ‘for every five rooms booked, the sixth room is free’ from AMResorts, while customers travelling as a part of a Sunquest group will each receive a $50 Future Travel Voucher when they book by Aug. 31.

"We're hoping this will bring the consumer into agencies," Montagnese said, adding that travel agents will earn 10-times the Loyalty Points on every groups booking; bonus incentives are also currently available on bookings with ALBATours, Encore Cruises and Holiday House.

In an effort to streamline the booking process, one dedicated phone number will soon be introduced for Groups on any TravelBrands program. The company has also reintroduced the classic version of TravelGenie, offering travel professionals the ability to customize bookings and itineraries by accessing various TravelBrands product on one platform. An enhanced version is set to launch in the near future, which will be powered in-house with "more bells and whistles," Montagnese said.