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Monday,  May 20, 2024 8:57 AM 

“Huge support”: ACV’s Europe events a hit with travel advisors & suppliers

“Huge support”: ACV’s Europe events a hit with travel advisors & suppliers
Air Canada Vacations has been hosting a series of successful breakfast seminars for the trade this month to promote its 2024 Europe collection and toolkit. (Supplied)
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.

On the heels of announcing the return of its 2024 Europe Travel Agent Tool Kit, Air Canada Vacations (ACV) kicked off a series of breakfast seminars last week to connect with travel advisors across Canada and share highlights from its collection.

“The response has been so positive,” Erminia Nigro, general manager of sales at ACV, told PAX on Monday (Feb. 12), speaking about the meet-up series that began Feb. 6.

ACV, this month, is hosting a total of 20 breakfast seminars for the trade in communities across the country.

Travel advisors attend ACV's Europe breakfast seminar. (Supplied)

“Our travel advisors have been so grateful for our comprehensive training that’s presented not only detailed information on our latest and greatest, but also helpful tips and, most importantly, the travel agent Europe Tool Kit, which was created to help our agents sell our product, using the ‘work smarter not harder’ model,” said Nigro, who attended events last week in Ontario and Eastern Canada.

READ MORE: ACV updates Europe toolkit with new destinations, offers for trade

ACV’s strategy, this year, is “simple,” Nigro said.

And that is: “To create awareness of just how much product ACV has in Europe,” she said.

ACV meets up with partners in Quebec. (Supplied)

“We knew we needed to get our Europe Tool Kits in as many travel advisor hands as possible,” she said. “We wanted to share the excitement of this amazing portfolio.”

The breakfast events, which conclude on Wednesday (Sept. 14), have also welcomed members of the ACV sales team, who are “eager and excited to share our portfolio for this year,” Nigro said.

Europe at a glance

This year, ACV is promoting Europe as a year-round program with robust winter tours and ski packages, in addition to existing summer options.

Key features of the new tool kit include a planning guide with overviews of the different package types, newly-revamped Europe Collections, and an enhanced "Tours at a glance" and "Cruises at a glance" table featuring cruise partners.

As well, agents can access a summary of ACV’s products and offers, including car rentals, Aeroplan, travel protection, Our Vacation and Cruise Promises, ACV&ME Rewards program, and more.

ACV makes a splash in Western Canada. (Supplied)

“We’re continuing to educate our travel agent partners with future webinars, helpful and updated tips, and FAMs,” Nigro said, noting the important role incentive trips will play in 2024.

ACV’s Europe program has increased to more than 170 tour packages tailored to meet every travel style, and includes new Collections, such as European Beach Holidays, Urban Tours, and Premium Tours.

ACV's Western Canada team talks Europe with travel advisors. (Supplied)

The tour operator says it has enhanced its offer in key destinations, such as Athens, Rome, Venice, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Dublin.

It is also unveiling additional destinations such as Scandinavia, the Azores, Alentejo, Madeira, Lombardy, and Sicily.

“Huge support”

Nigro says the Europe events have received “huge support” from both travel advisors and suppliers.

Some gatherings have seen as many as 16 suppliers turn up to share their best sales tips, destination facts and booking trends. The events have also welcomed European partners, such as hotel and local DMCs, who flew in from Europe, and cruise partners. 

ACV's Europe seminars have seen big crowds. (Supplied)

“The best part about our program is our newly-revamped Collections,” Nigro told PAX. “This year, agents will notice that our popular tours remain, like the Fly and Drive, Fly and Rail, Classic Europe, Europe Island Hopping, and Guided Tours, but there’s also new Collections, such as European Beach Holidays, Urban Tours and Premium Tours.”

READ MORE: "An exciting milestone": ACV launches new Group Quoting Tool for agents

Nigro said her favourite is the Greece program, which, this year, has three new tours that give customers the ability to select a choice of islands that they would like to visit.

ACV meets up with travel advisors in Eastern Canada. (Supplied)

This includes flexible options that provide 14 variations of island hopping through three programs (Athena, Hermes and Colossus). 

When should agents start pitching Europe to their clients?

Now is the time,” Nigro said. “Our suppliers who attended have stated how demand this year is already in full force, so the earlier, the better.”

To get ahead, ACV has added extra (and in many cases, double) capacity in various cities “to ensure we deliver this year,” Nigro said.

Exclusive offers

For a limited time, ACV is offering agents three per cent commission when booking their clients next Europe tour package and two per cent on Europe Air & Cruise packages.

The company is also restoring an exclusive offer for travel professionals to enjoy of 20 per cent off their next Air Canada Vacations Europe tours and flight plus hotel packages. 

The ACV team on location, ready to welcome agents. (Supplied)

And, until Feb. 18, travellers can save $400 per couple on Europe tour packages or up to $150 per couple on select Flight & Cruise packages in Europe for travel between April 1, 2024, and Dec. 31, 2024.

For details on these offers, click here.

A digital version of ACV’s Europe Tool Kit, meanwhile, can be found here.

The best part in the guide, Nigro said, are pages 8 to 12, which summarize all of ACV’s new tours, Collections (including durations and destinations visited), as well as top picks and best sellers.

“Use this guide as your bible and we guarantee that you will succeed at selling Europe,” Nigro said.

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