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Friday,  April 12, 2024 7:53 PM 

Q&A: Nicole Bursey on Transat’s Training Academies, winter program & priorities for agents

Q&A: Nicole Bursey on Transat’s Training Academies, winter program & priorities for agents
Transat’s Commercial Director Nicole Bursey. (File photo/Pax Global Media)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Transat's commercial team hosted its Toronto Training Academy on Wednesday (Sept. 7) to give roughly 350 travel advisors an overview of its 2023 program while showcasing its South, Europe and U.S. partners.

The fun-filled event, held at Hilton Toronto Airport in Mississauga, ON, unfolded as Transat kicks off its 35th anniversary celebrations – a major milestone that has already unveiled big savings on South packages and a vacation giveaway contest.

The Toronto stop was one of five Training Academies that Transat is hosting this month.

The team heads to Quebec today (Sept. 8), starting with Quebec City, then to Boucherville (Sept. 13), Laval (Sept. 14) and then over to Halifax, Nova Scotia on Sept. 15.

PAX caught up with Transat’s Commercial Director Nicole Bursey to learn more.

PAX: How does it feel to resume Transat’s in-person Training Academy?

Nicole Bursey (NB): We were starting to get ready for our 2020 Training Academy when the pandemic hit Canada and we had to postpone those.  This is our first live training academy in more than three years. The virtual events that we did during the various stages of lockdown were really good but there is nothing quite like being in a room with our partners.

PAX: After all that’s happened during the pandemic, what makes this year’s events particularly unique?

NB: We feel that the travel community is ready to be together again.  It is really important for us to one, thank agents for all that they have done to support our mutual clients; two, to share crucial information to help agents do business with Transat; and three, to kick off the celebration of our 35th anniversary year.

PAX: What do you want agents to take away from these events?

NB: Training Academies have traditionally been primarily focused on product, which is still important, but this year the most important information we can share is about tools and technology that can help agents work with us in a more efficient manner. It is about offering self-service functionalities whenever possible.  We also want agents to feel appreciated. It has been a tough few years, but the Transat they know, (and if I can say the Transat they love), is here and we are very eager to travel this road to recovery alongside our very important agent partners.

PAX: What are Transat’s priorities for travel advisors as the fall/winter season begins? 

NB: Along with offering tools and training to support agents, we remain determined to have promotions and products that are appealing to the Canadian traveller. This means initiatives like our 35th anniversary promo [which launched Sept. 7], product like our Option Flex, which offers flexibility and a variety of product in the South, Florida and throughout Europe that can suit any traveller.

PAX: What should agents know about Transat’s 2023 program? How comprehensive is it compared to 2019?

NB: We are very pleased, and proud, to say that the winter 2023 program (which starts Nov. 1) will be larger than our 2019 offer in terms of the number of seats deployed.  We are launching a new collection – the R & R 18+ Collection – which is sure to entice those who are looking for a special vacation.

PAX: What can you say about airport delays at Canadian airports – at Toronto Pearson, in particular?

NB: I believe there have been improvements to the situation, but we are reminding agents that we offer flights from London and Hamilton as well that can be attractive alternatives to YYZ. However, if one flies from YYZ, the best advice is to arrive early and complete the online check-in using the Air Transat app beforehand. 

PAX: What else is happening at Transat?

NB: We are really focused on sustainable travel initiatives. Our new A321- Neo LR are among the greenest aircraft anywhere in the world.  We also offer brochures electronically now – no more paper copies – and to complement this we have developed a tool that agents can use in the selling process which allows them to create a personalized message to their clients complete with rich hotel content. To create this custom email takes less than a minute! 

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