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How to Sell More Domestic Travel – Colton Chia, Director of Partnerships

As Canadians are still under a non-essential travel ban, dealing with limited options for international flights and clients who are craving getaways, Colton Chia, Director of Partnerships at TPI, says it’s wise for travel advisors to focus on selling Canada.

“Typically, advisors don’t focus on close-to-home vacation planning, but there is a great opportunity here to grow your client base while delivering exceptional Canadian vacations, if you can work with a new or existing client to plan a staycation, you remain top of mind and a great way to secure future business,” Chia tells Travel Courier. “We have a dedicated team working closely with our supplier partners on a strategy to gather promote North American products for our advisors. All of the consumer-facing marketing initiatives that we deploy for our advisors are focusing on inspiration and staycation content to showcase North American products.”

In order to help facilitate growth within the domestic landscape, TPI created an exclusive website for its advisors showcasing a list of travel partners that service the Canadian travel market, as well as a list of all Virtuoso hotel partners.

“Become a local expert and let people know that you are an expert,” he stresses. “By getting to know the ins and outs of the key travel spots in your province and areas across the country, you become the go-to expert. Canadians want a change of scenery, even if that is just for the weekend, they may not think that you can help them plan a Canadian vacation, so you need to ensure you get the word out that you can assist and showcase your knowledge and ask for the business. TPI ” has suggested treating this time as an investment in your future business by growing your database and securing some income during a time where we have limited options for immediate travel sales.”

One thing that this pandemic has brought forward, even more, he says, is the importance of working with a travel advisor.

“The best thing travel advisors can do right now is to communicate with their clients,” he adds. “Keeping open communication with their clients and keeping them updated with all the latest information is of the utmost importance to build their trust.

 

Posted Travel Courier on June, 18, 220

We are seeing a very positive outlook for our 2021 and 2022 bookings

TORONTO — Just because travel has effectively come to a halt, doesn’t mean travel retailers aren’t busy. Quite the opposite, in fact. Just ask TPI’s CEO, Zeina Gedeon.

TPI is working hard keeping its members updated on the health and safety protocols developed by various suppliers. “The intent is to educate our Advisors on the new protocols so when the business opens up, they are ready and prepared for questions they may receive from their clients and have the resources available at their fingertips to help close those sales. Our next phase after health and safety protocols will focus on supplier product training,” says Gedeon.

In keeping with the trend to domestic travel amid the pandemic, TPI has also created an exclusive website for its Advisors to showcase a list of travel partners that service the Canadian travel market, as well as a list of all Virtuoso hotel partners.

“We have a dedicated team working closely with our supplier partners on a strategy to gather promote North American products for our Advisors,” notes Gedeon.

One thing has slowed down, and it’s a positive sign that it has. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis TPI has been hosting town hall meetings for its Advisors. In those first chaotic weeks the host agency started with town halls twice a day. Now that the immediate crisis has passed for cancellations and issues, says Gedeon, TPI has scaled back the town halls to three times a week.

Several guest speakers, from mental health experts to motivational speakers, have taken part in the town halls, adding to the value of the initiative for TPI Advisors. “Just recently we did a motivational session with Patrick Sweeney who is the ‘Fear Guru’ and author of the best-selling book ‘Fear is Fuel’,” says Gedeon.

And how are sales amid these unprecedented circumstances? “We are seeing a very positive outlook for our 2021 and 2022 bookings which assures us that travel will bounce back with a vengeance. When the border restrictions are lifted, clients will be ready to travel,” she says.

Posted in TravelWeek on June 17, 2020

TPI Maintains Commission Levels & Extends Recognition Program

Travel Professional International (TPI) has announced it will maintain the same commission levels and extend the Velocity Program benefits for their advisors for the fiscal year 2021 & 2022.

“Our advisors are leaning on us for support and stability, and we want to ensure that we provide them with all the assurance needed for them to continue to build their business,” said Zeina Gedeon, CEO, TPI.

TPI CEO Zeina Gedeon (left) with some members of the TPI team at the network’s 2019 “Level Up” Conference.

Last year “was the best fiscal year growth TPI has seen,” Gedeon adds, “and we will be honouring all of the commission splits and recognition reward benefits based on our best year so far, which we are very proud of and proud of all the hard work of our advisors.  We are a family, and we are in all together.”

The Velocity Program is TPI’s loyalty & recognition program that pays back $298,000 annually to its advisors, said the network in a statement.

“The program showcases the results of our advisors’ hard work in building their business, and TPI is committed to continuing to recognize all their efforts,” said TPI in a press release.

Some of the extension’s key highlights for TPI advisors are:  

  • Maintaining their same commission level splits for FY21 & FY22.
  • Maintaining their monthly support fee discounts for FY21 & FY22.
  • Maintaining their annual fee discounts for FY21 & FY22.
  • Maintaining and continuing their same recognition level for FY21 & FY22.

Posted in OpenJaw on May 28, 2020

TPI Taking Care Of Its Advisors

Travel Professional International (TPI) is maintaining the same commission levels and extending its Velocity Program benefits for its Advisors for the fiscal year 2021 and 2022.

The Velocity Program (TPI’s Loyalty & Recognition Program) has been a long-running program at TPI, that pays back $298,000 annually to its advisors. The program showcases the results of its Advisor’s hard work in building their business, and TPI is committed to continuing to recognize all their efforts.

Zeina Gedeon, CEO, TPI, said of the decision: “Our Advisors are leaning on us for support and stability, and we want to ensure that we provide them with all the assurance needed for them to continue to build their business.”said.

Gedeon continued: “2019 was the best fiscal year growth TPI has seen, and we will be honouring all of the commission splits and recognition reward benefits based on our best year so far, which we are very proud of and proud of all the hard work of our Advisors. We are a family, and we are in this all together.”

Key highlights of the extensions for TPI Advisors include:

  • Maintaining their same commission level splits for FY21 & FY22.
  • Maintaining their monthly support fee discounts for FY21 & FY22.
  • Maintaining their annual fee discounts for FY21 & FY22.
  • Maintaining and continuing their same recognition level for FY21 & FY22.

Along with extending recognition program extension, TPI also presented its overall company priorities, and goals post COVID-19 during their recent town hall.

Go to www.tpi.ca for more.

Posted in Travel Press on May 28, 2020

TPI honouring commission splits, extends agent program benefits

TORONTO — Travel Professionals International (TPI) says it is once again putting agents first by maintaining commission levels and extending Velocity Program benefits for 2021 and 2022.

Some of the key highlights for TPI Advisors include:

  • Maintaining their same commission level splits for the fiscal year 2021 & 2022
  • Maintaining their monthly support fee discounts for FY21 & FY22
  • Maintaining their annual fee discounts for FY21 & FY22
  • Maintaining and continuing their same recognition level for FY21 & FY22

The Velocity Program, TPI’s long-running Loyalty & Recognition Program, pays back $298,000 annual to its advisors.

“Our advisors are leaning on us for support and stability and we want to ensure that we provide them with all the assurance needed for them to continue to build their business,” said Zeina Gedeon, CEO, TPI.

Gedeon added: “2019 was the best fiscal year growth TPI has seen, and we will be honouring all of the commission splits and recognition reward benefits based on our best year so far, which we are very proud of and proud of all the hard work of our advisors. We are a family and we are in this together.”

Posted in Travel Week on May 27, 2020

TPI Network Wears Red In Honour Of Fallen Victims In Nova Scotia

 

TPI advisors and head office staff wore red and observed a moment of silence on the network’s daily call last Friday in honour of the lives lost in Nova Scotia on April 18 and 19.

“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the victims,” TPI said in a release.

Posted in Open Jaw on April 27, 2020

“We are working together to get through these unprecedented times”: TPI’s Gedeon

 

TORONTO — These are unprecedented times in the travel industry and many travel advisors are seeing the value of being a part of a supportive host agency, says TPI CEO Zeina Gedeon.

Not only are agents dealing with unheard-of volumes of cancellations and rebookings, they’re also deeply concerned about forward bookings and the future of their business.

Gedeon says she has a number of points travel agents should consider when choosing a host agency that’s right for them.

Advisor Support 

“TPI is known for Advisor support in the industry. We have the highest support staff to the Advisor ratio in the industry. TPI is providing their highest level of ongoing support to our Advisors with having an internal COVID-19 team during these unprecedented times.”

Gedeon says TPI has created a one-stop COVID-19 page, so TPI Advisors have all the latest information at their fingertips. TPI Advisors also have a long list of communication resources made available to them by their head office team to assist them during these challenging times. Daily town hall calls are hosted to answer Advisors’ questions regarding supplier policies, insurance and daily COVID-19 government updates. Advisors have access to up to date information on supplier policies on their learning management system along with communication client templates that have been uploaded on the TPI COVID-19 portal.

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“Keeping open communication between TPI head office, our Advisors and our supplier partners are a vital part of TPI’s crisis management plan to help their Advisors to keep up to date with the changes as it continued to unfold,” says Gedeon.

 

Building Advisor Confidence 

A crisis is bound to bring some stress along with it, notes Gedeon. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Advisors are facing cancellations and numerous travel changes. “TPI continues to support its Advisors and instill confidence in how they are handling this ongoing situation. TPI is inviting motivational guest speakers on their daily town halls to talk about how Advisors can use this downtime to educate themselves to grow their business knowledge. TPI is also working with our supplier partners to continue to train and support our Advisors, so they are confident and ready for when the dust settles, and there’s a pent-up demand for travel.”

 

Stress Management

Says Gedeon: “Our Travel Advisors are proud and confident independent business owners. However, at times, the stress of this industry gets to be uncontrollable, and having a supportive team to lean on is invaluable. Joining a host agency is one of the best things you can do as an independent travel Advisor. At TPI, we have built a family-like community that helps our Advisors to thrive and provide a stress relief outlet.”

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She adds: “We have a private Facebook group called ‘TPI Insider.’ TPI Insider was set up almost three years ago with the prime purpose of enhancing our community engagement from all our Advisors. It is the perfect platform where our Advisors can express their concerns and ask questions within a supportive community who understand each other and are sympathetic towards the situation while also providing them with answers to their questions.”

 

We are a Family”

“At TPI, we are a family, and we support and help each other at every step of the way,” says Gedeon. “You are in business for yourself and not by yourself when you are a part of TPI. We are sure that together we will recover from these challenging times. We are working together to get through these unprecedented times, just like a family. Call us at 1-866-627-2122 or email us at info@tpi.ca.”

Posted in Travel Week on April 9, 2020

VIDEO: “…We will overcome:” TPI addresses COVID-19 pandemic

The team at Travel Professionals International (TPI) is showing its support for the travel industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video released exclusively to PAX, CEO of TPI Zeina Gedeon says “we are in it together.”

“Time and time again we have proven how resilient our industry is,” Gedeon says, noting travel’s ongoing ability to overcome challenges, from SARS to earthquakes to hurricanes to fires.

The video then goes on to feature words of encouragement from TPI advisors Ashley Doell, Carl Henderson and Christopher Lucas.

“We will adapt, we will rebuild, and we will overcome,” Gedeon says.

Watch TPI’s complete video below. 

Posted in Pax News on April 6, 2020

TPI Navigates COVID-19 Crisis With Support, Training and Humour

There are two ways to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic: lose heart, hope and composure; or keep calm, treat it as an opportunity, come up with a strategy, and get down to business.

Travel Professionals International (TPI) is choosing the latter without the slightest flicker of doubt that travel will rebound. They are uniting as a TPI family and using the downtime created by the health crisis to work on their weaknesses – with song, dance and laughs to keep everyone motivated.

As the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a pandemic, borders started closing and travel plans were being cancelled, TPI CEO Zeina Gedeon tells Open Jaw it was an unprecedented time of chaos for the host agency’s members.

“We had three and a half weeks of hell because of all the cancellations. The biggest challenge was that our suppliers’ policies kept changing, which didn’t give our advisors a lot of flexibility with their customers,” says Gedeon.

To alleviate some of the pressure, the TPI executive team hosted two calls a day for 200 to 300 of its advisors – even on Saturdays and Sundays – to give them a platform to vent and receive supplier policy updates, which the TPI head office team painstakingly gathered and compiled.

“We created a task force and a dedicated web page with all the latest updates from suppliers and information about the coronavirus so that agents had it at their fingertips and didn’t have to look at a thousand places to find it,” says Gedeon.

Having been “on the other side” before – as President and CEO of Air Canada Vacations, as well as CEO of TravelBrands — Gedeon says she can certainly appreciate the turbulence that suppliers had to deal with, too.

“I don’t blame the suppliers. How could they give us information when they themselves were working blindly? They have done a very good job in trying to navigate this uncertainty and the magnitude of the bookings and cancellations they had to deal with,” she says.

Don’t go silent, stay relevant, better yourself

Now that the immediate crisis of dealing with an onslaught of cancellations and working tirelessly to bring clients home has somewhat cooled, Gedeon has this advice for travel advisors: don’t go silent, stay relevant and better yourself.

TPI now holds a call daily with its members, where the first half is filled with lighthearted fun featuring dancing, singing, karaoke, even an upcoming TPI’s Got Talent spinoff to boost the mood and keep agents motivated.

Then, the second half of the call is filled with a training session or a guest speaker series featuring experts in the fields of mental health, law, finance, social media and more.

“The biggest challenge we’ve had for years now is that advisors don’t have time to learn because they’re so busy. Now is the perfect time for them to hone in on their training,” says Gedeon.

Gedeon is also exhorting agents to continue their marketing efforts.

“We are pushing our advisors to keep advertising. The biggest thing is we keep telling them: do not go silent,” she says.

This is because, as many travel industry executives and observers have pointed out, travel will rebound as it has from many other crises in the past. And Gedeon echoes this outlook of better days to come.

“I know we say this a lot but this, too, will pass. Our industry is a very susceptible one. Someone farts in Zimbabwe and travel is impacted,” Gedeon says. “The biggest piece of advice I have is educate yourself. Better yourself so that when the time comes, you are ready.”

And that time may come sooner rather than later. Gedeon says five TPI advisors have secured new bookings for future travel — from a river cruise for JAN 2021 to a Beaches Turks & Caicos vacation in DEC 2020.

“We’re obviously not seeing bookings as much as we normally would, but we are happily surprised that we’re still seeing bookings at all. That is what’s giving everybody a ray of hope,” she says.

A growing family

TPI has also grown its membership by five new advisors within the past week – three joining from brick and mortars and two from another host.

“Of all the things I thought could occur, that was not one I expected,” says Gedeon. “I was very pleasantly surprised.”

 

Posted in Open Jaw on April 3, 2020

5 Things Travel Advisors Should Focus On Right Now!

During these unprecedented times in the travel industry, it is essential for independent Travel Advisors to focus on their business plan and how they can make changes to prepare for unforeseen circumstances in the future.

Travel Professionals International (TPI) outlines five main points all Travel Advisors should focus on during this time:

1. Don’t Forget Your Marketing Plan

Even in times of uncertainty, Advisors need to remember their communication with their clients is crucial. Although not all your clients may be experiencing trip interruptions, it is essential to communicate to your entire list of clients that you are here to support them and will continue to be there when they are ready to book their next dream vacation.

TPI Advisors have access to a TPI COVID-19 Portal with endless information at their fingertips. The marketing section of the portal includes templated emails to send to their clients regarding supplier updates and government guidelines for returning home, along with a social media corner with images and messaging to post on their business pages. Keep that constant contact with your clients and let them know that when this all passes, you will be here to help them plan those much-needed dream getaways.

2. Stay Organized

In time, this too shall pass, and the Travel Industry will come out stronger than ever! As a trusted Advisor to your clients, you want to be ready for the next wave of inquiries and bookings. TPI is advising their Advisors to “get organized.”

Now is the time to make sure all your client profiles are updated and any administrative work that you have been pushing aside is up to date. You won’t remember what the policy was 24 months from now, so ensure that you have all of your invoicing up to date and CRM notes updated. It will help you in the long run. TPI has created a step-by-step process and webinar training to help map out the must-dos for their Advisors.

3. Educate Yourself!

Now is the time to level up your training, from partner specialist courses to professional development sessions. It is the right time to brush up and learn new skills and software that you have wanted to learn but never actually had the time to do it. TPI is hosting a daily session to improve Advisor knowledge on various tools such as Sabre, CBO, Mailchimp and other marketing and tech tools.

4. Your Host Agency is Your Best Support

With more than 930 Advisors across Canada, the leading and esteemed host agency has made a significant impression on their trusted Advisors during this time, with their outstanding support plan to assist their Advisors. TPI Advisors have a long list of resources made available to them by their Head Office team to help them during these trying times.

  • Daily town hall calls hosted by TPI CEO, Zeina Gedeon, along with National Director of Sales, Caroline Hay and the Head Office team to answer Advisor questions regarding supplier policies, insurance and daily COVID-19 government updates.
  • TPI Advisors have access to up-to-date supplier notices in their learning management system and an active Facebook group, which is monitored hourly by the internal team.
  • TPI Advisors have been provided with ongoing communication, including email triage templates to inform their clients, consumer-facing social media and email templates. TPI also prepared a templated letter for Advisors to send to MPs to request support for small businesses at this time.
  • They have created a one-stop TPI COVID-19 Portal for Advisors to have access to all the ever-changing information consolidated for them at their fingertips.
  • TPI has actively been in conversation with ACTA and other small business federation to come up with various measures like interest-free loans, tax credits and compensation for the independent contractors to help our Advisors during this tough time.

It is in times like these that being a part of an award-winning host agency is a substantial benefit to an Advisor’s confidence and trust.

5. We Are in This Together!

Whether you have a host agency supporting you to navigate through this or you are a member of an active travel agent Facebook group, now is the time to come together. Use the resources that you have available to get through tough times together.

TPI keeps an open conversation on their private Facebook group. Advisors feel comfortable asking any questions on the page and will receive responses from both their fellow Advisors and a head office team member. These are the types of tools that make an Advisor feel like family. TPI sees tremendous value in these open communication platforms, as do Advisors.

Our industry is very resilient and has come together again to battle this crisis. We appreciate everything that our industry partners are doing to support our Travel Advisors.

Together, we will recover from these unprecedented times and come out stronger!

Sponsored article by Travel Professionals International.

Looking for the right host agency to help support you? Call us at 1-866-627-2122 or email us at info@tpi.ca to learn more about joining Canada’s leading & esteemed host agency.

Posted in Pax News on March, 27, 2020