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Sunday,  May 26, 2024 10:23 PM 

“Something for everyone”: TTC Tour Brands talks booking trends at T.O. roadshow


“Something for everyone”: TTC Tour Brands talks booking trends at T.O. roadshow
From left: Austin Fraser, sales manager, North Eastern ON; Ernie Balint - regional sales manager, E. Canada, Uniworld; Brenda Bradley, sales manager, SW and Northern ON; Jenni Berg, dr. of sales & national accounts; Michele Palma, VP, field sales, NA, Uniworld. (Pax Global Media)
Pax Global Media

A tour company with something for everyone.

The Canadian sales team for TTC Tour Brands landed in Mississauga, ON Wednesday night (May 8) as part of a 14-city roadshow across Canada this month.

Welcoming roughly 100 top travel advisors (and their clients), the invitation-only event at C Banquets, co-sponsored by Tourism Spain, gave attendees a taste of TTC Tour Brands’ six unique brands – this being, Trafalgar, Contiki, Brendan Vacations, Costsaver, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, which is part of The Travel Corporation, was also on the scene to engage with guests.  

“We're here to provide insights into the experiences that customers would get on our tours,” said Jenni Berg, director of sales and national accounts at TTC Tour Brands, speaking to PAX at the event. “We’re also giving people a taste of what each of our six tour brands are about and what makes them unique.”

Whether it's youth with Contiki, specialists like Brendan Vacations (who only do Ireland and Scotland) or upscale experiences with Luxury Gold, which is about five-star dining and luxury hotels, TTC Tour Brands, which reorganized into one portfolio last year, is about offering tours for all tastes.

Last year’s restructuring was done to provide a range of options for every type of traveller – regardless of their budget, style of travel or personal preference – streamline the sales team and eliminate confusion in the marketplace.

For travel advisors, the company also launched a Travel Advisor Portal (TAP), which combines everything into one online resource, offering the latest sales and marketing tools.

Calling all solo female travellers

With spring and summer ramping up, one booking trend the company is tracking is the rise of solo female travellers.

In response, Insight Vacations, on International Women’s Day in March, launched small group, women-only tours to encourage solo travel and spotlight women in the travel industry for travel in 2025.

“It used to be that we only had a few tours,” Berg said. “Now, we have quite a few different tours across the world, with different departure dates. There's a lot of availability for single rooms on these tours as well.”

When it comes to group travel, the books are showing a good mix of couples and friend groups, Berg noted.

While select itineraries in July and August still have some availability, the push, right now, is to get clients booking in the fall to ensure they get the tour and departure date that they want.

“Bookings are looking good. We’re really happy with how everything’s bounced back,” Berg said.

The company is also proud to offer Make Travel Matter experiences – activities that have a positive social or environmental impact on people, planet and wildlife – on every single one of its tours.

Canadians love Spain

As for popular destinations, Spain remains a top choice (hence why Tourism Spain is sponsoring this year’s roadshow).

“Year after year, it’s one of our most popular destinations,” Berg said.

In 2023, 675,000 Canadians travelled to Spain, setting a new visitation record, said Alegria Narvaez, trade and travel manager for the Tourist Office of Spain. (Prior to COVID, the number sat at  425,000).

“People are willing to go to Spain,” Narvaez said. “With good weather, you can visit Spain year-round.”

From left: Alegria Narvaez, trade & travel manager, Tourist Office of Spain; Jenni Berg, director of sales & national accounts, TTC Tour Brands. (Pax Global Media)

A destination that’s defined by many civilizations, Spain is full of diversity, where “every city, and every province is completely different from each other,” Narvaez said.

Portugal and Italy (an annual number-one seller) also continue to attract visitors, Berg said, while interest in Asia and the U.S. (for the company’s National Parks trips) is rising.

Despite some economic uncertainty in the marketplace, luxury-focused experiences continue to be a popular choice at TTC Tour Brands, Berg said.

“In general, over the past year, we’ve found that people are spending a bit more money, they’re treating themselves, they’re requesting more single rooms, and they’re also going on longer, upgraded trips,” she said.

From left: Austin Fraser, sales manager, North Eastern ON; Ernie Balint - regional sales manager, E. Canada, Uniworld; Brenda Bradley, sales manager, SW and Northern ON; Jenni Berg, dr. of sales & national accounts; Michele Palma, VP, field sales, NA, Uniworld; Alegria Narvaez, trade & travel manager, Tourist Office of Spain. (Pax Global Media)

The secret sauce at TTC Tour Brands, which offers more than 1,000 itineraries across 80 countries, is that “we truly have tours for anyone and everyone,” Berg said.

“Whether it’s a five-year-old, or someone who is 105…we have an experience for them,” she said.

The importance of travel advisors

TTC Tour Brands’ roadshow kicks off as the company expands the participation tiers of its Travel Advisor Discount Program (TADP) and introduces a new incentive for travel advisors just beginning their careers with TTC Tour Brands.

With the newly-revised TADP, advisors can begin earning personal travel discounts up to 25 per cent on gross sales starting at CAD$35,000.

In addition, new advisors to TTC Tour Brands will receive a CAD$100 e-gift card on their first booking when they take the TTC Tour Brands Masterclass and complete the brand course for their intended trip.

Cheryl Abbott of The Travel Agent Next Door (middle) took home a $500 gift card. (Pax Global Media)

Berg said TTC Tour Brands owes its success to the support of travel advisors and, in return, is committed to “always being there for them.”

Every client in attendance last night was entered to win a grand prize – a $500 discount towards their next trip with TTC Tour Brands. Plus, a lucky travel advisor received a $500 VISA gift card.

Congratulations to Cheryl Abbott of The Travel Agent Next Door on her big win.

With files from Nancy Benetton-Sampath.


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