Travel Professionals International2018 - Travel Professionals International

Bookings using bitcoin (what is it, anyway?) create new TPI client base

Bitcoin isn’t the only crypto-currency out there, but it’s the best known. You might have heard of it, but like 99.9% of people, you’re not sure what it is. In the travel industry, organizations including TPI have started accepting bitcoin, and just a few weeks ago the host agency processed $75,000 worth of bitcoin bookings.

“It is a whole new world! As with everything, we need to evolve and progress and accepting bitcoin was a natural step for TPI,” says TPI CEO Zeina Gedeon.

“Our advisors have such diverse customers that this was a no-brainer. We support our advisors and this is what their customers are asking for, and we are very happy to say that a couple of weeks ago we processed over $75,000 in bitcoin bookings.”

TPI announced last month that the booking agent, Carine Taylor, is an eight-year TPI veteran based in Ottawa. “I was excited when I contacted this client, who has been a client of mine for a while, and suggested to him to use his bitcoins for his upcoming trip,” said Taylor. “It was an easy and simple transaction and my client is pleased to be TPI’s first client to use cryptocurrency. We will absolutely continue using bitcoin for all future travels.”

TPI first announced that it would be accepting bitcoin as a form of payment back in May to provide more payment options to its advisors.

On meeting the needs of its advisors and customers, CEO Zeina Gedeon said: “Offering travellers another way to pay for their vacations opens up so many more avenues for them. Our cryptocurrency clients can now shop from the vast array of vacation options, including all of the Virtuoso products available at TPI, as well as receive top-notch, personalized service from their TPI Travel Advisor. It’s a win-win for our network and for our clients.”

In a follow-up interview with Sphere, Gedeon said TPI does not handle the bitcoin transactions itself. Instead, they are done by a third-party to minimize risk.

The booking was from an existing TPI client, “who now has told his friends and we have attracted a completely different client base,” says Gedeon.

So what is bitcoin? It’s digital money and it’s been around since 2009 and, in the words of CNNMoney.com, “transactions are made with no middlemen – meaning, no banks.” It has value, because right now no one’s sure if it’s the currency of the future, or just the latest blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tech trend, and everyone is hedging their bets. As CNNMoney.com points out, bitcoin isn’t tied to any particular country or even subject to regulation – yet. People can transfer bitcoin payments via mobile apps or their computer.

TPI isn’t alone in accepting bitcoin in the travel industry. Earlier this year the German National Tourism Board also announced it would begin accepting cryptocurrencies including bitcoin.

Both CNNMoney.com and ConsumerReports.org offer good explanations of just how bitcoin works, and what its future prospects are (or aren’t).

Todd Knapp, CEO of Pawtucket, RI-based Envision Technology Advisors, talked about both bitcoin and blockchain at Collette’s global travel forum held recently in Providence, RI. He calls bitcoin a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” and says that while the world is still in the early adoption phase of this technology, “as nations begin to adopt digital currency technology it will mature as a means of payment. After all, at one-time credit cards were not accepted in many places either!”

Knapp adds that while bitcoin specifically may never be widely accepted, digital currency as a concept “is absolutely something that will continue to gain acceptance.”

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Part of the challenge, he says, is that outside of the world’s major cities, Internet access and speed still lag, and that’s a problem for getting an entirely digital currency off the ground.

“Even here in the U.S., there are many areas with Internet access that is akin to old broadband dial-up, as opposed to the high-speed connection we find in major cities,” says Knapp. “Having to access digital assets when a connection is slow, or non-existent, is a legitimate challenge.”

The travel industry is obviously not confined to major cities like Paris, London, or Toyko, of course. “So what happens when someone is on safari in Africa or trekking amidst the glaciers of Iceland? Internet access in those areas might not allow for rapid access to digital platforms and currency. So it’s not unreasonable to say that adoption [of digital currencies like bitcoin] will closely follow the growth of Internet accessibility worldwide.”

That said, the global rate at which people are connected to the Internet is faster than it’s ever been and continues to accelerate, says Knapp. “We’re not talking about the distant future. It’s closer than anyone might think.”

Bitcoin sales start rolling in at Travel Professionals International

TORONTO, CANADA – TPI is open for Bitcoin business and reaching a new client base at the same time. TPI announced in May that they were leading the way by adopting this latest payment technology, to provide more payment options to our advisors to support their customers.

 

Ottawa Travel Advisor, Carine Taylor; an 8-year veteran at Travel Professionals International was the first independent advisor in Canada to make a travel arrangement for a client who paid with Bitcoins. “I was excited when I contacted this client – who has been a client of mine for a while – and suggested to him to use his bitcoins for his upcoming trip. It was an easy and simple transaction and my client is pleased to be TPI’s first client to use cryptocurrency. We will absolutely continue using bitcoin for all future travels, said Ms. Taylor. Zeina Gedeon, CEO reiterated that TPI is committed to meeting the needs of our advisors and their customers. “Offering travellers another way to pay for their vacations opens up so many more avenues for them. Our cryptocurrency clients can now shop from the vast array of vacation options, including all of the Virtuoso products available at TPI, as well as receive top-notch, personalized service from their TPI Travel Advisor. It’s a win-win for our network and for our clients.”

About TPI

Since its founding in 1994, Travel Professionals International (TPI) has been the premier provider of outsourced travel solutions to independent travel advisors and agencies. Backed by a head office support team of fifty highly skilled travel professionals, innovative technological solutions, and excellent supplier relationships, hundreds of TPI advisors across Canada are available to provide full-service travel solutions to leisure and corporate travellers. More information is available at www.tpi.ca.

TPI is a Virtuoso member (www.virtuoso.com) and is a division of the I.A.S. – Independent Agency Services Corp. group of companies. (www.iascorp.ca)

TPI’s 2018 Velocity Trip

TORONTO, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, held its annual TPI Velocity Trip at Secrets SilverSands.

 

Unique to TPI advisors, the industry leading and exclusive Velocity rewards program is designed to recognize and incentivize advisors.  The TPI Velocity program allows advisors to build their business through increased revenue and they are rewarded with incentives such as higher commissions and dollars that can be used for their own travel. Along with other perks and their annual Velocity trip for advisors and guests, it is a true sales incentive program.

Kelly Klassen a Platinum Level Advisor from Saskatchewan said “This was my first Velocity Trip with TPI and I loved every minute! I set out to crush some huge goals this year and I succeeded! TPI rewards its top earners with amazing trips that are fantastic for networking with other agents as well as some of the wonderful head office team who support us day in and day out. I can’t wait to see where the next TPI Velocity Trip will take us”

“These reward trips allow us all to have one on one time together while also allowing fellow advisors from across the country to learn and get to know each other better while reinforcing the strength of our network between TPI and our advisor.  I always look forward to connecting with  TPI advisors and getting feedback to ensure that our organization remains focused and relevant to the continued success of our advisors” said Morris Chia, Chairman

Carlo Trinidad, Business Development Manager AMResorts also joined the trip, “This year’s TPI Velocity trip solidified AMResorts’ strong partnership with TPI. It was a great opportunity to host the agents alongside the TPI team and together we continue to build initiatives to strengthen our business.”

The TPI Velocity Rewards program has paid out over $190,000 YTD  to their advisors.

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About TPI

Since its founding in 1994, Travel Professionals International (TPI) has been the premier provider of outsourced travel solutions to independent travel advisors and agencies. Backed by a head office support team of fifty highly skilled travel professionals, innovative technological solutions, and excellent supplier relationships, hundreds of TPI advisors across Canada are available to provide full-service travel solutions to leisure and corporate travellers. More information is available at www.tpi.ca.

TPI is a Virtuoso member (www.virtuoso.com) and is a division of the I.A.S. – Independent Agency Services Corp. group of companies. (www.iascorp.ca)

TPI announces winner of its Advisor contest month with Norwegian Cruise Line

TORONTO, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, hosted a contest for its advisors for the travel agent month with Norwegian Cruise Line.

 

“To honour our network, we had dedicated the month of May to celebrate our advisors,” said Gedeon, CEO of Travel Professionals International. During the month, TPI advisors had the opportunity to win daily prize giveaways, capped off with a Grand Prize – cruise for two aboard Norwegian Cruise Line.

 

TPI is excited to announce the winner of this grand prize is Monique Powell. Powell has been a loyal member of the TPI family since July 2011. “We would like to congratulate Monique and thank all our advisors for participating in the contest” added Gedeon.

 

TPI prides itself on its ever-growing network of independent travel advisors and continues to support its advisors with various incentives to help them push their sales.

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Since its founding in 1994, Travel Professionals International (TPI) has been the premier provider of outsourced travel solutions to independent travel advisors and agencies. Backed by a head office support team of fifty highly skilled travel professionals, innovative technological solutions, and excellent supplier relationships, hundreds of TPI advisors across Canada are available to provide full-service travel solutions to leisure and corporate travellers. More information is available at www.tpi.ca. TPI – We’ll Take You There

TPI is a Virtuoso member (www.virtuoso.com) and is a division of the I.A.S. – Independent Agency Services Corp. group of companies. (www.iascorp.ca)

TPI ANNOUNCES THEY ARE NOW ACCEPTING BITCOIN CRYPTOCURRENCY

TORONTO, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of Independent Travel Advisors, today announced they are now accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for all purchases. Offering travelers another way to book, travellers can now shop from the vast array of products available including all Virtuoso products at TPI, and for the first time ever beginning today, easily pay using bitcoin.

“TPI is leading the way by adopting the latest payment technologies, to solve travel planning and booking for our advisors,” said Zeina Gedeon, CEO, TPI. “We’re continually looking for ways travellers want to pay for their travel; bitcoin is a great example of how TPI is investing early in an array of payment options to give our customers and partners more choice in the ways they interact with us.” continued Gedeon

TPI partnered with Arclabs, to provide more payment options to our advisors to support their customers.

 

About Travel Professionals International
Since its founding in 1994, Travel Professionals International (TPI) has been the premier provider of outsourced travel solutions to independent travel advisors and agencies. Backed by a head office support team of fifty highly skilled travel professionals, innovative technological solutions, and excellent supplier relationships, hundreds of TPI advisors across Canada are available to provide full-service travel solutions to leisure and corporate travelers. More information is available at www.tpi.ca. TPI – We’ll Take You There

TPI is a Virtuoso member (www.virtuoso.com) and is a division of the I.A.S. – Independent Agency Services Corp. group of companies. (www.iascorp.ca)

 

About Arclabs

Arclabs is a Software Development Company based in Winnipeg, Canada and founded in 2016. Arclabs specializes in applying data science and AI technologies to real-world problems and products. Their secure, dedicated team evaluates, categorizes, and annotates data to deliver consistent and accurate solutions. Arclabs offers custom development solutions to users around the world with successful projects in data analytics, eCommerce, web, iOS, Android, security solutions and more.

 

Contact: TPI Press Releases, pr@tpi.ca, Travel Professionals International (TPI)

TPI’s 2018 Cross-Country Summit Events

TORONTO, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, held its annual TPI Summit events across Canada from 22 May to 2 June. Taking place in 9 major cities across Canada, over 375 advisors participated in the events – a marked increase in engagement over 2017.

“These events are important touch points for TPI to ensure we continue to help our advisors work smarter and not harder,” said Zeina Gedeon, CEO.

The events launched TPI’s partnership with Arclabs, providing clients the ability to pay with Bitcoin-cryptocurrency for their vacations. “We, as a company, believe in the concept of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is a secure, easy option for our customers to purchase vacations,” said Gedeon. Other items launched during the Summit Events include new, exclusive consumer offers, lead generation programs, and further technology initiatives, that are focused on saving time and making more money.

“I am constantly amazed at all of the hard work our advisors do to grow their business. They are the backbone of our company, and it’s a great pleasure working together to succeed in business. The feedback from our Summits that we have received from our Advisors and Partners was nothing short of fantastic and the information shared was focused on the tools that can assist with business growth and future success”, said Zeina Gedeon, CEO.

 

TPI prides itself on its ever-growing network of independent travel advisors and support staff spanning the country.

 

The 2018 TPI Summit events were generously sponsored by this year’s Presenting Partners, Transat, Allianz, Royal Caribbean and Platinum Partner, WestJet Vacations, among other preferred partner participants.

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 Since its founding in 1994, Travel Professionals International (TPI) has been the premier provider of outsourced travel solutions to independent travel advisors and agencies. Backed by a head office support team of fifty highly skilled travel professionals, innovative technological solutions, and excellent supplier relationships, hundreds of TPI advisors across Canada are available to provide full-service travel solutions to leisure and corporate travelers. More information is available at www.tpi.ca. TPI – We’ll Take You There

 

TPI is a Virtuoso member (www.virtuoso.com) and is a division of the I.A.S. – Independent Agency Services Corp. group of companies. (www.iascorp.ca)

Caroline Hay – Promoted to Director of Sales for Ontario

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

23 April 2018

Caroline Hay – Promoted to Director of Sales for Ontario

 

Travel Professional International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies,  announces the appointment of Caroline Hay as Director of Sales, Ontario.  Ms. Hay will report directly to Zeina Gedeon, Chief Executive Officer, and in this newly defined position, Caroline will be responsible for all sales channels while ensuring continued development and growth of our member-based business. As TPI continues to expand its presence in Ontario, Hay will be based in the Greater Toronto Area.

 

Ms. Hay has extensive travel industry sales and business development experience spanning over 24 years.   She has previously held roles with Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Princess Cruises and most recently with TPI in the Marketing department.  “I am pleased to announce Caroline Hay’s appointment to this key role of leading the sales initiatives in Ontario as we focus on maintaining a competitive advantage in the Ontario market while we expand our offering to our advisors network,” said Zeina Gedeon, Chief Executive Officer.  “Caroline’s proven talent, leadership skills and broad industry experience in sales, business development and marketing make her the right candidate for this role as we work with our advisors to create new business opportunities and continue to innovate.”

 

Caroline’s appointment is effective immediately.

 

Contact:

Email: chay@tpi.ca

Office:  647-689-3884 x711

Cell: 905-330-5357

 

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Since its founding in 1994, Travel Professionals International (TPI) has been the premier provider of outsourced travel solutions to independent travel advisors and agencies. Backed by a head office support team of fifty highly skilled travel professionals, innovative technological solutions, and excellent supplier relationships, hundreds of TPI advisors across Canada are available to provide full-service travel solutions to leisure and corporate travelers. More information is available at www.tpi.ca. TPI – We’ll Take You There

Top TPI Travel Advisors Honoured at TPI Chairman’s Circle Trip

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

24 APRIL 2018

Top TPI Travel Advisors Honoured at TPI Chairman’s Circle Trip

 

Travel Professionals International (TPI), Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, celebrated the success of its top advisors by hosting them and their guests on The Crystal Esprit Yacht, alongside TPI President, Morris Chia, TPI CEO, Zeina Gedeon, and Marketing Director, Jordana Botting.

 

“The Chairman’s Circle trip is a TPI tradition I very much look forward to, as it is one of the best opportunities for me to connect with our top achievers and recognize their commitment to success” Chia said. “To be able to spend such quality time with TPI’s best of the best – while sailing aboard a yacht in a beautiful part of the world is a treat.”

 

The 7-day ‘West Indies Yachting Explorer’ voyage set sail from St. Martin on April 13, 2018 with ports of call in Moskito Island, Saba, Antigua (where the group was hosted at Sandals Grande Antigua for a special lunch and a day of relaxation), St. Barts, St. Kitts, Tortola and our final leisurely stop in Nevis, where the advisors spent the day at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis.

 

The Crystal Esprit offers an intimate and elegant enclave for up to 62 sophisticated adventurists in all-suite and butler-serviced accommodations. The yacht’s unique size brings guests to the very doorstep of some of the world’s most exclusive shores, allowing for incomparable personalized experiences. The Crystal Esprit is small enough to sail to exotic bucket-list destinations, with a wide range of complimentary excursions and amenities in a very intimate and customized manner. The cuisine is inspired by the flavors of lands explored, delivered through lavish culinary presentations of Michelin-level envy.

 

“We look forward to next year’s Chairman’s Circle trip with a marque event celebrating TPI’s 25th year anniversary” Chia said. “Stay tuned, we will be announcing details of the trip shortly”.

 

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About TPI

 

Since its founding in 1994, Travel Professionals International (TPI) has been the premier provider of outsourced travel solutions to independent travel advisors and agencies. Backed by a head office support team of fifty highly skilled travel professionals, innovative technological solutions, and excellent supplier relationships, hundreds of TPI advisors across Canada are available to provide full-service travel solutions to leisure and corporate travelers. More information is available at www.tpi.ca.

 

TPI is a Virtuoso member (www.virtuoso.com) and is a division of the I.A.S. – Independent Agency Services Corp. group of companies. (www.iascorp.ca)

 

About Crystal Cruises

Celebrating 27 years of excellence, Crystal Cruises is the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line, having earned “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 24 years; been voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 years; and the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by travel professional organization Virtuoso for three consecutive years (2014, 2015 & 2016).  The readers of Travel + Leisure also voted Crystal River Cruises the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” and Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises the “World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” in 2017. Crystal is proud to be a platinum partner of ASTA.

Set sail with Viking Cruises

5 Reasons to Book a Viking Ocean Cruise

Ask us to point to the best thing about Viking Ocean Cruises and you might be met with a blank stare. Not because there isn’t anything to recommend the line, though — it’s quite the opposite actually. With Viking, every detail — from the decor and atmosphere to the food and itineraries —is special and it is the experience as a whole that makes these cruises truly remarkable. So we couldn’t possibly choose just one best thing.

If you’ve enjoyed the company’s sister line of river cruises,you are sure to be impressed by their spectacular ocean line. And if you’re new to Viking cruises, well, you’re in for a treat. Here are our top five reasons to book a Viking Ocean Cruise today:

#1: Viking is at the top of its game

Ranked as the World’s Best Ocean Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure for two years in a row (2016 and 2017), Vikingoffers an incredible experience aboard its beautiful vessels. There’s no better time to discover what all the fuss is about. Among the top luxury cruise lines, Viking has the youngest fleet of ocean liners, including two brand-new ships. This means you’ll be sailing on the newest vessels with a company proving to be the very best in its class.

#2: Clean and serene experience

Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed by work? There’s nothing like a quiet vacation to clear the head. Viking offers an exceptionally serene environment aboard its ocean vessels. Uncluttered spaces, light-filled rooms and a decidedly un-mega-cruise-ship feel are the hallmarks of a Viking voyage. The well-designed ships keep to a clean Scandinavian aesthetic and maxes out at just 930 passengers. What a breath of fresh air.

#3: Inspiring itineraries

On a Viking voyage, the itineraries are as important as the onboard experience. Viking is able to take advantage of its smaller-sized ships to bring passengers into ports other cruise ships simply cannot navigate. And being closer to the main destinations — as opposed to out-of-the-way ports — means less hassle and more time to explore.

But beyond just the convenience of the smaller ships, Viking really shines with its port-rich innovative itineraries. The hardest part is deciding which itinerary to head out on first.

 

#4: Immersive Cultural Experiences

 

One of Viking’s stated goals is to provide travellers with an immersive cultural experience in every port — and the company really delivers. Not only does each stop include one free excursion, but Viking likes to curated experiences that give travellers a glimpse into local life and culture. Onboard, passengers have further opportunity to explore the cultures they are visiting through optional lectures, art exhibits, shows and food/wine tastings.

#5: Inclusive Pricing

 Nothing can ruin a vacation vibe faster than having to think about money all the time. On Viking, almost everything is included: from all dining options and wine with meals to shore excursions and unlimited wi-fi. Want to eat dinner in your room? No problem — room service is available free of charge any time of day or night. You can even visit the luxury spa pools (treatments are extra of course) and do your laundry without having to reach for your wallet. Now that’s something to celebrate.

 

TPI Advisor Recognized

From the small city of St. John’s Newfoundland, Lois Barbour has grown a formidable travel agency that is competing with the very best in the world.
When she first decided to purchase a franchise with Travel Professionals International (TPI) in 2005, Lois Barbour still had one foot in her other career — nursing. She soon realized that her knack for planning perfect family vacations was serving her well in her new venture and she was able to step back from nursing to concentrate on growing her St. John’s-based business full-time.
“I retired completely from nursing in 2010 and haven’t looked back,” Barbour said.
Today, her agency, Travel Time TPI, has eight outside agents and an office administrator; and Barbour has proven herself to be one of Canada’s best destination wedding planners and a go-to resource for families looking to plan a stress-free vacation.
“My passion really is helping people — whether that be couples or families — to create incredible travel memories. I know from my own experience when a vacation is planned well and travel is stress-free, that time away together is really invaluable,” Barbour said.
“We started to travel as a family when our daughter was two years old. She is 30 now and along with our two sons who are now in their 20’s, we still look back at those travel memories as some of the best times our family spent together while they were growing up.”
One of Barbour’s favourite travel recommendations is the Sandals and Beaches brand of resorts. For couples, the adult-only Sandals resorts are absolutely perfect, she says, and for families, you really can’t get much better than a Beaches vacations.
“What I love about the brand is that it offers consistency throughout, so you know that you will get high level of customer service in every resort,” she said. “And the food is always amazing.”
Just last week, Barbour’s agency was honoured at the annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (STAR) Awards with the ‘Best of the Best’ award — which recognizes excellence in sales and marketing. Barbour was also named once again to the exclusive Chairman’s Royal Club, an honour reserved for the world’s top performing agents and one that she has received each year since the program was implemented in 2011. She is the only agent in Newfoundland to ever receive this honour and one of only three in Canada for 2017.
“There is a direct benefit to our customers when we receive awards such as these,” Barbour said. “Being part of the inner circle allows us to advocate for our clients with the very top people from the Sandals brand. We are asked for ideas to improve the brand and we’ve seen our input make a real difference.” She points to free WiFi that is now offered at Sandals resorts as one idea that she pushed based on feedback from her clients.
“We are very proud of all of our agents who work hard to give their customers the very best service and travel experiences,” said Zeina Gedeon, CEO of Travel Professionals International. “Lois is a wonderful example of the level of excellence our TPI agents provide to their clients all across Canada.”
Barbour is just one of hundreds of independent travel advisors and agencies under the TPI umbrella — a network that supports and encourage each other while growing businesses in their local communities. TPI is the largest host agency in Canada, providing marketing and technology tools for agents to increase revenue while providing superior customer service.
TPI was itself recognized with a ‘Best of the Best’ award, as well as the coveted Top Host Agency in Canada honour at the STAR awards.
“It is great to be part of an organization that stands out from all the noise out there in the travel industry,” Barbour said. “TPI continues to support its agents so that we can do our job well — and that is to support travelers in all their needs.”