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TPI partners with Uplift; payment program to unroll this June

TORONTO – Travel Professionals International (TPI) has partnered with travel financing platform Uplift and will be unrolling a payment plan tool for its advisors this summer, PAX has learned.

Colton Chia, director of partnerships at TPI, confirmed the news with PAX via telephone this morning. “I love that Uplift is focused on travel exclusively,” Chia told PAX. “It’s a great tool for our advisors to offer flexible payment solution to our clients.”

 

Uplift, a Silicon Valley FinTech company that gives travellers the ability to book now and pay over time, was launched in 2017 by CEO Brian Barth.

The web-based tool was first introduced to Canada last March, and works exclusively through industry partners by integrating a monthly payment option into booking flows while offering custom-tailored payment solutions for travel agents and call centres.

Beyond offering a payment solution service, Uplift gives customers an option “they might not have thought about,” Chia said. “That’s key.”

Getting ready to launch

TPI will officially introduce Uplift within its network of travel advisors mid-June, Chia said.

Preliminary testing of the platform began last week by a select group of people consisting of TPI’s advisory board members, tech committee and select travel agents.

“The idea was to roll it out to a small group and get feedback and input. To make sure everything is running smoothly,” Chia told PAX. “Any customizations that need to be made, we can add.”

Part of TPI incorporating Uplift into its day-to-day operations was about identifying different types of client profiles and how each could benefit from a payment solution.

“A lot of people think of a payment solution as, ‘I don’t have the money.’ But in reality, it’s about cash management,” Chia said, citing accessibility, affordability and reward as three motivating factors that drive payment solutions for travel.

Whether it’s that couple who wants to splurge on a 20th-anniversary trip or a bucket list safari on the other side of the world, it all comes down to giving the customer what they want.

“If [customers] want flexibility, then we should be able to offer that as a travel advisor,” said Chia. “We can work with them to plan a big-scale trip, further out.”

Quick and easy

Uplift’s accessible platform was a big sell for TPI.

“You take the amount of a trip, put it in the tool, and it automatically calculates a price and monthly payment plan that [advisors] can discuss with clients to see if this is something they’d be interested in,” Chia explained.

The program will give customers the option of paying for travel over 12 months (the first payment is made at the time of the booking and then 11 monthly payments will follow).

“It’s not a predatory loan provider. It’s simple interest,” Chia said. “What you see is what you’re going to pay.

 

TPI Agent feedback

TPI travel advisor Carl Henderson, a Certified Tahiti Specialist, admits he wasn’t initially sold on Uplift in the beginning.

“My initial reaction was that [financing a trip] would be the last thing in the world I’d want to promote,” Henderson said in a statement. “[I was] thinking about getting all these clients that can’t afford to travel, wasting my time. I want to go for clients with lots of money, not no money.”

But after researching it more, he realized that Uplift  “seems pretty seamless from the advisor side.”

“I also realize the number of Tahiti honeymoon clients that come to me and say they have a $10,000 budget, which is just not enough for a good trip to Tahiti. They need at least $13,000 to $15,000,” he said.

“My thoughts are that this could be a great tool [for] people who are doing those big-ticket, bucket list trips and are just shy of the amount they need to achieve it,” he said.

“I think it could really help me close some sales that I am losing or having to switch to less expensive destinations,” Henderson added.

TPI celebrates top advisors with Chairman’s Circle trip

TORONTO — Travel Professionals International (TPI) celebrated the success of its top travel advisors on the annual TPI Chairman’s Circle trip this year with a trip in conjunction with Red Carnation Hotels.

TPI Chairman’s Circle advisors and their guests were hosted for three nights at London’s Milestone Hotel and four nights at Ashford Castle in Cong, Ireland.

Also in attendance were TPI Executive Chairman Morris Chia, CEO Zeina Gedeon, Marketing & Sales Director Caroline Hay and Paul Hemmings, VP Sales, Red Carnation Hotels.

“The Chairman’s Circle trip is a celebration of the best of the best, and for our 25th year in business we wanted an astonishing experience for our top advisors to commemorate their success,” said Chia. “To celebrate our special 25th anniversary, we raised the bar with stays at the Milestone Hotel and Ashford Castle during a week filled with extraordinary activities for our Chairman’s Circle advisors. Travelling with the group also gives me an opportunity to connect with our top advisors and recognize their achievements. It was great to spend such quality time with this elite group of TPI advisors in two incredible properties under the Red Carnation umbrella.”

The Chairman’s Circle trip is part of TPI’s larger Velocity travel advisor recognition program, aimed at recognizing and celebrating the successes of TPI’s travel advisors.

Attendance at TPI’s Summit events at an all-time high

 

TORONTO — Attendance at TPI – Travel Professionals International’s annual cross-country Summit events was at an all-time high this year with 350+ TPI advisors taking part.

TPI CEO Zeina Gedeon along with Director of Sales Christine Winchester and Director of Marketing Caroline Hay travelled across the country as part of the Summit series, to deliver TPI updates on new programs and services as well as deliver sales-centric content to assist their TPI members in moving their business forward.

“Our annual Summit Roadshow was a great success. It is a trip that Head Office and TPI advisors across Canada look forward to. It is the opportunity to meet face to face with our advisors and allows us to not just pass on our key TPI messages but to further develop strong relationships with each individual TPI advisor,” says Gedeon.

She adds: “Being joined by our key supplier partners really rounds out the Summit experience, keeping up on industry trends and knowing our partners are here to support our network towards continued sales growth is paramount, and the feedback we received was fantastic!”

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TPI travel advisor Jaime Murphy took part in what has become an annual tradition. “This is my 10th year of attending TPI’s annual summits,” she said. “I love attending the annual summit series as it provides me with important information and connections to continue to operate my business at the top of my game.”

More positive feedback for the events included: “I loved the Summit and all the information I received”; “I was impressed that the CEO was willing to travel across the country and meet with her advisors face to face”; “It’s clear there was a lot of preparation for this summit. I enjoyed it. It was the right amount of time. Long enough breaks to speak with colleagues, head office, and partners.”

Hay says TPI holds more than 40 in-person training events every year. “The community we have as an organization is incredible and when we posed the question during the Summits of ‘Why TPI’, the #1 answer right across the country was the support from head office and other advisors. That is why we continue these in-person meetings throughout the year! It’s a big differentiator for us and we are very proud of the relationship we have with our TPI advisors.”

 

TPI Announces Preferred Supplier Partnership with Travefy

TORONTO — Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent Travel Advisors announced a Preferred Supplier Partnership with Travefy – the leading itinerary management and client communication tool for Travel Agents.

 

“TPI has always been at the forefront of travel innovation,” notes Travefy CEO David Chait. “We’re thrilled by the opportunity to work with the TPI team to assist their valued Travel Advisors to craft and create professional client quotes and itineraries for their clients.”

Through Travefy, Travel Advisors can build dynamic travel quotes and itineraries all in their brand that can be delivered via mobile app, responsive web page, or PDF. Additional time-saving integrations bring key data seamlessly to any itinerary and communication tools help Advisors continue to provide world class service. Through Travefy, Travel Advisors can save time and impress clients.

As a part of the partnership, Travefy will provide TPI Advisors with streamlined access to Travefy’s award-winning itinerary management tools, exclusive training, and more.

“After an evaluation of several itinerary management companies with an Advisor User test group and our Sales Team, we are pleased to have selected Travefy as the preferred itinerary management tool for our network. Travefy’s commitment to helping our Advisors utilize their platform to enhance the customer experience for their clients, together with dedicated support, exclusive training and other initiatives will be instrumental in the success of this partnership,” said Colton Chia, TPI Partnerships Director.

TPI emphasizes luxury sales with latest round of regionals

TORONTO — Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors, wrapped up 11 regional meetings across the country, with more than 250 TPI travel advisors in attendance. Focusing on the luxury travel segment, TPI travel advisors and preferred partners shared ideas on how to increase their book of luxury business.

 

“TPI is unique in the fact that while our advisors are independent contractors who run their own travel business with the freedom and flexibility they need, we offer the best peer-to-peer support in the industry. Our advisors get into business for themselves, but are never by themselves,” said Christine Winchester, National Director of Sales and Professional Development for TPI. “Having the opportunity to gather together at a regional meeting to learn from our valued suppliers — and from each other — is a great advantage to being part of the TPI family.”

 

Jaime Murphy, a long-time TPI travel advisor, recently moved her business from Newfoundland to Edmonton. “For me, the greatest benefit of these meetings is the personal connections I’ve made. It has been essential in my business, especially since the move,” said Murphy. “Before this meeting, I wasn’t familiar with any of the partner representatives in Edmonton. Now I have those personal connections — and I know about new products that come with higher yields. I am very grateful we are presented with these opportunities. It’s why I love being part of TPI.”

 

Michele Smith from Barrie, Ont., said her team walked away from these meetings with the reminder that luxury is not the same for everyone — that one size does not fit all. “Having face-to-face meetings with suppliers provides us with a very different experience than webinars. When you leave the office and attend a meeting, it’s another way to learn not only from the suppliers, but the other advisors and TPI staff in the room,” said Smith.

 

“I feel it is extremely important to attend these regional meetings if we want our business to thrive. It’s an opportunity to visit with other agents and share stories and tips of the travel trade. I always come away with so many ideas from other agents and suppliers,” said Sherry Petrasko, a TPI travel advisor based in Winnipeg.

 

Joining the TPI travel advisors were partner representatives. “TPI’s emphasis on developing luxury sales is truly welcome. Having a luxury focus for regional trainings allowed me as a supplier to dig deeper into the relationships I have with interested TPI advisors and help them better understand the luxury cruise landscape. Being able to support the leadership message from TPI management is rewarding, especially since we are now seeing results,” said Beverley Vickers, Director of Sales and Marketing, Canada, for Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

 

Also joining the meetings in several cities was Mahima Tripathi, CEO and Chief Brand Ambassador of Saleint Inc. “I thought the meetings went extremely well. The advisors engaged in conversations and asked relevant and important questions. TPI is awesome — and their passionate culture is displayed from top to bottom.”

 

TPI will be conducting the next regional gatherings at its annual TPI Summit events, which will take place in nine cities across Canada from April 2-13, 2019.

TPI Named Best of the Best Agency & Top Host Agency in Canada at Sandals Awards 2018

 

Travel Professionals International (TPI) was once again named the Top Host Agency in Canada along with being named as one of the Top 10 Agencies Worldwide at the 17th annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (STAR) Awards held this past weekend at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort.

During the STAR Gala awards, TPI received many accolades including being named ‘Best of the Best Agency’ thanks to high sales productivity from its independent advisors between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018, and additionally, received Regional recognition by being awarded Western Canada Top Butler Elite Travel Agency and Western Canada Top Sandals Travel Agency award.

“Being recognized with awards such as these truly shows the strength of the TPI organization and the commitment our advisors have to supporting our preferred partners.” Said Zeina Gedeon, CEO, who was on hand to receive these coveted awards. “Our Advisors work hard every day to find the perfect vacation for their clients, and their commitment to Sandals and Beaches is really is impressive. This year, as an organization we put a heightened focus around the Sandals Certification program and we covered the registration fees for our Advisors who wanted to grow their knowledge for the Sandals and Beaches brands!  Clearly, continuing education has paid off, it’s amazing to be recognized with so many awards as we head into our 25th year of business” added Gedeon.

List of awards received at the STAR Gala Awards:

  • Best of the Best Agency Recognition Award
    • Travel Time TPI
  • Chairman’s Royal Club Members:
    • Lois Barbour
    • Kim Hartlen
  • Top Butler Travel Agency
  • Top Sandals Travel Agency
  • Top Host Travel Agency
  • Top Sandals Travel Agency
    • Kim Hartlen Travel
  • Top Ten Travel Agencies

 

Lois Barbour of Travel Time TPI and Kim Hartlen of Kim Harlen Travel TPI, were both named to the exclusive Chairman’s Royal Club, an honour reserved for the world’s top performing agents. Additionally, Lois Barbour was named Best of the Best Agency and Kim Hartlen Travel was named top Sandals Travel Agency for outstanding sales performance.

TPI IGNITES CHANGE at their Annual Conference

Travel Professionals International (TPI) – Canada’s leading home-based travel company and Virtuoso Member, welcomed over 240 of their Advisors, Guests and Supplier Partners to their conference last week on board the Norwegian Getaway. “This year’s conference theme – IGNITE CHANGE – was to highlight the many positive changes that TPI has made this past year, as well as to inspire our network to Ignite Change and evolve their business, and set new goals for themselves,” said Zeina Gedeon, CEO.

Gedeon officially kicked off the conference with an outline of all the enhancements that TPI is investing, organizing and innovating to Ignite Change in the company. Gedeon spoke about the introduction of self-invoicing, bilingual TPI website, TPI e-commerce store, along with many more enhanced services offered to assist our advisors with their business needs, which will ensure that TPI remains the market leader in the Home Based space in Canada.

Keynote Speaker, Sandra McLemore challenged the attendees to look at where they wanted their business to be with her “Number in the Circle” keynote, as well as sessions revolving around Social Media, Finding Luxury Clients offline, Finding your Brilliance just to name a few.

 

Camille Olivere, Senior Vice President, Sales for Norwegian Cruise Line, made a special announcement onboard, congratulating TPI as being named NCL’s Canadian Host Agency of the Year Partner.

 

Other highlights of the conference include:

  • #TPIGIVESBACK.  TPI advisors, partners and staff collected donations of school supplies and reading materials were donated to 9 public schools in Tortola, BVI.
  • TPI announced their new corporate charity, Jack.org; Canada’s only charity training and empowering young leaders to revolutionize mental health in every province and territory. TPI raised almost $14,000 last week and many initiatives will be taking place over the next year to support this grassroots initiative.
  • Introduction of a TPI Mentoring program which will help new advisors gear up their travel business but also to help and support existing advisors reach the next level
  • Velocity Reward program updates including enhancements and simplification of the program that has paid out $123,455 for FY18
  • Announcement for all upcoming TPI Reward Trips as well as TPI’s exclusive STEP Fams to Australia and Cambodia.

“Our Annual Conference is one of the best places to meet and get up-to-date information on the most important happenings in our industry and our company. We ensured that our valued advisors have the chance to not just educate themselves but meet with our supplier partners and head office team, additionally, we added on sessions directly related to the business entrepreneur, all of which is essential information to Igniting Change in our business”. Said Gedeon

In 2019, TPI will be celebrating their 25th year in business, Morris Chia Executive Chairman stated “In 1994, our concept and vision for this company came to fruition and TPI was founded. I am thankful every moment for what we have accomplished together as a team.” TPI is looking ahead to a year of record sales growth, as well as an increased focus on marketing and training, along with continuing its close relationships with travel partners.

Klassen at TPI brings home the Gold!

Travel Professionals International (TPI) is proud to announce that our advisor Kelly Klassen was recognized at the Palace PRO Awards Gala with the Gold Crown award, the ceremony was held in Cancun at The Grand Moon Place.

“On behalf of all of TPI, I would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Kelly on achieving this great honour,” said Morris Chia, Executive Chairman, TPI. “It is wonderful that Kelly’s hard work and commitment to her clients has been recognized. She is very deserving of this prestigious award and we are so proud of all she has accomplished.”

“It was such an incredible honour to be awarded for with Gold Crown status with Palace Resorts this year! I had many goals for myself and this was one of them. However, I could not have achieved this status without my fantastic clients who put their trust in me yearly to plan memorable vacations for them “said Kelly.

 

Interested in joining TPI? We can take your business to new heights. With 800+ Travel Advisors across the country, we’ve established the assets you need in the travel industry for success

 

Meet TPI’s new national training manager

Travel Professional International (TPI) has appointed Emilyn Salvador as the company’s new national training manager.

Salvador will be based in Winnipeg and will report directly to Amy Losics, Director of Operations. Salvador has been with TPI for over 18 years and has most recently been an integral member of the company’s Inside Sales team. Salvador will work to ensure that TPI advisors are getting the highest quality of training and development to meet all their needs and requirements.

She takes on her new role effective Sept. 1.

“As we move in our 25th year of business we need to continuously ensure that our valued advisors are supported in their business needs as well as their education needs, we are continuously evolving our offering to make sure we are on top of our game and our product and support offering,” said Zeina Gedeon, CEO. “The addition of this role now brings our support team to +50, the largest support team in the Canadian home based travel space.”

Salvador can be reached at esalvador@tpi.ca.

TPI at 25: continued focus on strong partnerships, marketing

 

An increased focus on marketing and training, along with continuing its close relationships with travel partners, will mark Travel Professionals International’s 25th anniversary in 2019.

 

The travel agency network welcomed its top travel partners to an exclusive event in Toronto last night, welcoming representatives from air and cruise lines, tour operators, resorts and tourism boards to thank them for their ongoing support.“This is the first time that we’ve formally celebrated our partners and it’s great to be in the room and see familiar faces,” said Colton Chia, TPI’s director of partnerships. “We’re coming up on our 25th anniversary in 2019 and we’re excited to celebrate together going into that year.”

 

TPI President Morris Chia said that the company will continue to build its management team to “ensure that our focus is relevant to our advisors,” including the hiring of a dedicated training manager. Marketing has also been a main focus for the business in 2018, explained CEO Zeina Gedeon, adding that TPI’s new marketing platform was her biggest highlight for the year. “We implemented it in 2017 but really perfected it this year. It has significantly saved our advisors a lot of time and looking ahead, we’ll have more technological enhancements to make their lives much easier.”

 

TPI also recently began accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment, a concept which has been embraced mostly by younger travellers, Gedeon said, adding that one traveller used Bitcoin to book a $75,000vacation to Asia.“We’ve had a lot of small ones (Bitcoin bookings) but that was our biggest – it was a big trip for him and his family,” she said.

 

“We’re going to have a great 2019 – and it’s all because of our wonderful partners and advisors!” Gedeon added.