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TPI Hosts Over 300 at Record Number of Ship Tours

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a top 10 worldwide Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, is pleased to announce that a record number of ship tours are planned for its Atlantic Canada travel advisors and their clients this fall.
From September through October 2017, 25 ship tours are taking place in Atlantic Canada – the most ever for the region – at ports such as Charlottetown, Halifax, Saint John, St. John’s, and Sydney. Representing TPI on these ship tours are 100 TPI Atlantic Canada travel advisors and 235 of their clients who will experience a wide range of cruise product including Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney, Norwegian, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Silversea Cruises, and Viking Ocean Cruises.
“These ship tours build on our successful ship tour events in 2016 where hundreds of thousands of dollars in cruise sales were secured by our advisors,” said Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO. “I’d like to thank our cruise partners for showcasing their product in such a way that allows our travel advisors to interact simultaneously with both their clients and the cruise product. There is no easier way to sell a cruise than to experience one.”
The assortment of cruise lines includes contemporary, premium and luxury cruise lines, ranging from 382 passengers up to 4180 passengers, meaning TPI travel advisors and their clients experience every product category ocean cruise vacations have to offer.
Onboard the ships, clients are given access to exclusive booking promotions and TPI travel advisors have the opportunity to take training sessions that qualify toward their certified cruise counsellor accreditations.

TPI achieves Air Canada Circle of Excellence & TPI advisors win AC Contest

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a top 10 worldwide Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, is pleased to announce that it has been selected by Air Canada as a 2017 Circle of Excellence (COE) agency for the tenth year in a row. In addition, two (2) TPI advisors – Shirley Noel and Jeanine Crowell – each won one of twenty (20) Air Canada passes to travel to one of Air Canada’s new destinations as part of a contest launched for travel advisors who completed their AC Global Sales University certification.

“TPI is extremely honoured to receive this COE designation, earned by only the top rated Air Canada agencies. Not only does it epitomize our very strong relationship with Air Canada, but it also shows our travel advisors’ commitment to their customers,” says Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO. “In addition, we had over 300 TPI advisors complete the extensive Air Canada Global University certification. This is such a positive news story for our advisors’ clients as they will benefit the most from our advisors’ commitment and dedication to complete this training.”

As a part of Air Canada’s Circle of Excellence, TPI receives the inside track for special promotions and agent benefits program, priority contacts within Air Canada as well as the most up-to-date information on the leading carrier’s services and operations. The Air Canada Circle of Excellence is awarded by Air Canada to a select group of Canadian agencies; less than in 50 total.

“I’d like to congratulate TPI travel advisors on achieving Air Canada Expert certification,” said Duncan Bureau, Vice President of Global Sales, Air Canada. “As an important partner to Air Canada, we’re honoured to work closely with the TPI head office team and all of their advisors as we together represent Canada to the world.”

TPI in Top 10 for Total Agency Attendance at Virtuoso Travel Week

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a top 10 Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors, was recognized as one of the top 10 largest attendee groups at Virtuoso Travel Week, 11-17 August 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada, with representation by 52 of its travel advisors and staff.

“We are delighted that TPI and its advisors showed such a strong commitment to this year’s Virtuoso Travel Week,” said Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso CEO. “It’s truly a testament to their dedication and passion for providing the utmost in luxury travel to their clients.” Virtuoso Travel Week, in its 29th year, is the luxury network’s premier annual event with over 2,800 travel advisors and suppliers from around the world descending on Las Vegas, Nevada, for 5 days of learning, networking, and entertainment.
TPI’s membership in Virtuoso gives its advisors direct relationships with many of the finest hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines and tour operators in the world, as well as Virtuoso On-Site ground operators in more than 70 countries, all dedicated to ensuring the happiness and comfort of Virtuoso agencies’ clients with benefits such as room upgrades, amenities, and more. In addition, TPI advisors gain access to the latest in travel product marketing and technology in order to assist them in taking their businesses to new heights.
“Our top 10 worldwide affiliation with Virtuoso brings many added benefits to our travel advisors,” said Morris Chia, TPI President, “including bonus double-digit commission opportunities that help our advisors put more money in their pockets.”
Virtuoso is a by-invitation-only organization comprising over 800 agencies with more than 16,000 elite travel advisors in 45 countries in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East selling USD$21.2 billion in travel annually.

TPI & Crystal Cruises Announce 2018 Chairman’s Circle Trip

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a top 30 Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors, announces its 2018 annual TPI Chairman’s Circle trip with co-host Crystal Cruises to recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of its top advisors. Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO will travel along with TPI’s top advisors and their guests aboard the exclusive Crystal Esprit Yacht. Advisors will be sailing the West Indies April 22-29, 2018.

“Crystal Cruises is honoured to host the prestigious TPI Chairman’s Circle and we know that the Crystal Yacht experience will truly motivate the TPI advisor team to take their sales performance to the next level. We are so looking forward to demonstrating our own commitment to excellence to the TPI top travel advisors with an amazing itinerary on the Crystal Esprit,” said Edie Rodriguez, CEO & President, Crystal Cruises.

The Crystal Esprit will start its voyage in Marigot Bay, Saint Martin with stops in Anguilla, Saba, Netherlands Antilles, Falmouth Harbor, Antigua, Nevis, Gustavia, with an overnight stay in St. Barthélemy, Saint Martin/St. Maarten, and finally back to Marigot Bay.

“I am thrilled that we can give our top achievers such an incredible experience in partnership with Crystal Cruises as a testament to their success and commitment to their clients,” said Morris Chia, TPI Chairman.

As part of TPI’s larger Velocity travel advisor rewards program, the prestigious TPI Chairman’s Circle designation is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the successes of TPI’s highest producing travel advisors.

Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO with top TPI advisors on an AMA Waterways river cruise.

TPI Launches Tech Tool, Nets Record Satisfaction Levels at Cross-Country Tour

WINNIPEG, 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 24 May to 3 June. Taking place in 9 major cities across Canada, over 300 advisors participated in the events – a marked increase in engagement over 2016.

“The TPI Summit events are an important touch point for TPI to ensure we continue to be focused on the products and services that help our advisors work smarter and not harder,” said Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO.

The events launched a new innovative technology tool, Lynx, that provides TPI advisors with a time-saving advanced content management system to connect with their clients quickly and easily through a variety of mediums at the click of a single button, including personalized social media, e-mail newsletter, and website postings.  Other items launched include new, exclusive consumer offers, lead generation programs, and further technology initiatives, such as Umapped, that are focused on saving time and making more money.

The TPI team presenting at the TPI Summit events included Vice President, Tim Morgan; Director of Sales, Rhonda LaFosse; Director of Marketing, Laura Kwiatkowski; and Director of Operations, Amy Losics. Each team member delivered key industry and TPI-specific sales, marketing and training updates, in addition to best practice discussions and networking sessions among advisors and preferred partners.

“TPI is committed to our advisors’ long term success by implementing new initiatives to ensure TPI’s systems, products, and services continue to be best-in-class. We have long-term plans to maintain TPI’s status as the leader in the independent travel advisor segment in Canada,” states Chia

An overwhelming majority of TPI advisors reported being satisfied with this year’s Summit events – 93% of TPI advisors reported being satisfied with the event which is a significant increase over 2016 results which reported a 90% advisor satisfaction level. 

“With the large advisor turn-out and positive feedback, it clearly demonstrates that the TPI organization and its advisors are aligned in our corporate focus to grow their businesses. As a result, our advisors feel very positive about our company direction,” states Chia.

The 2017 TPI Summit events were generously sponsored by this year’s Presenting Partner, Air Canada, and Platinum Partners, Allianz and Transat, among other preferred partner participants. 

Toronto Summit 2017

Top Travel Advisors Honoured at TPI Chairman’s Circle Trip

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a top 30 Virtuoso member and 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 annual TPI Chairman’s Circle trip – this year aboard an AmaWaterways river cruise – alongside Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO. Advisors traveled on board the AmaDara sailing on the Mekong River from Vietnam to Cambodia.

“AmaWaterways is thrilled to once again to have hosted the TPI team of top travel advisors for this very prestigious event. Our strong relationship with TPI continues to grow each year and this year, we showcased Southeast Asia and our beautiful ship, AmaDara, to this exceptional group of TPI travel advisors,” said Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways Executive Vice President and Co-Owner.

The AmaDara started its voyage in My Tho Port, outside of Ho Chi Minh City, with stops in Phnom Phen, the capital of Cambodia, and concluded in Prek Kdam, Cambodia. In addition to enjoying the voyage itself, TPI advisors spent time relaxing and networking with their peers and with TPI executives including Chia; Tim Morgan, Vice President; Rhonda LaFosse, Director of Sales; and Laura Kwiatkowski, Director of Marketing.

“It is truly my honour to have hosted our top achievers for this once-in-a-lifetime voyage as we recognize their commitment to success,” said Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO.

The TPI Chairman’s Circle trip is part of TPI’s larger Velocity travel advisor recognition program and is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the successes of TPI’s highest-producing travel advisors.

__________

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)

Travel Time – TPI’s Lois Barbour has award–winning booking volumes to Sandals Resorts.

Travel Time – TPI owner Lois Barbour made her first trip to Sandals Resorts in 2007. “I was quickly convinced that it was a company that ensured a quality experience with as much luxury as anyone could ask for,” said Barbour.

Just about 10 years later Barbour received the Sandals Top Sales Award 2016, in recognition of her top sales amongst all travel agents in Canada. Barbour was chosen from 15 other Canadian travel agencies who had earned their status in the Sandals STAR Awards based on annual sales with Sandals.

Other accolades include: Top Agency (Atlantic Canada); Top Wedding Sales (Canada); Top Butler Elite Travel Agency (Atlantic Canada); Best of the Best Agency (Canada); Chairman’s Award 2016; and Chairman’s Royal Club 2017. She’s been a member of the Chairman’s Royal Club since its inception and again for 2016.

Her favourite resorts for destination weddings? Sandals South Coast and Sandals Ochi. The couple pictured above, Della and Travis, are Barbour’s clients, married at Sandals South Coast last May.

Asked when her Sandals Resorts sales really started to take off, Barbour says that after her first visit to Sandals in 2007, she immediately started spreading the word and recommending Sandals to anybody who had questions about resorts. “I believe in the product and I personally enjoy the experience.”

Barbour says bridal shows have been a great business decision. “Setting up a Sandals display complete with a Sandals wrapped vehicle draws attention and anyone considering a destination wedding gravitates to our display.”

Through a draw Barbour and her team collect some contact information, “and we stay in touch with the brides-to-be. These brides grow to trust our information and authority so logically we are their first thought when they want to take the next step in the process to book their destination wedding.”

One of her own top picks for weddings, Sandals South Coast (formerly Sandals Whitehouse), has been a strong choice with clients. “We love the fact that for groups, even the entry level rooms all have an ocean view, which is important. Seeing the ocean is one of the factors that influence couples to have their weddings down south many times, so being able to offer that – even if their guests are not paying for upgrades – is a huge benefit.”

Sandals Ochi Beach Resort is also a strong contender with Barbour’s clientele because of the price point. “Guests get to enjoy all of the wonderful amenities and inclusions from Sandals, and the price point is competitive with resorts that offer much less inclusions by comparison. Plus the couple gets to plan their wedding with the most organized team of wedding professionals available.”
Sandals’ Butler Service is a clear choice, she adds. “Being able to get ready for their big day, and also for the days of celebration afterwards with the services of a Butler enables the couple to be the VIPs they really are for this occasion. Within the Butler categories there is still lots of choice and price points, plus the option to receive a free upgrade when booking 12 rooms in their group is a huge benefit. If they do not qualify on their own due to the size of the group, we are usually able to add a few rooms to the group booking to help them qualify.”

Asked about the most satisfying Sandals wedding she’s ever booked, Barbour has a quick answer. It was a 35 room booking to Sandals Whitehouse, the largest wedding group to travel from Canada in 2016. The booking was a major contributing factor to Travel Time – TPI being awarded the top Destination Wedding Travel Agency for Sandals Resorts in Canada. “There were other groups during the year, but we feel that group was largely instrumental in helping us to achieve the status to be awarded this honor, so that would have to be the more satisfying achievement to date. And it’s not about the money. Of course being compensated is important, but not nearly as important as helping these couples and all their guests enjoy this memorable occasion.”

Selling Sandals Resorts is a long education in the fine art of upselling, something Barbour knows all too well. Asked what selling Sandals Resorts has taught her about upselling, she says: “That the guests are not buying from my pocketbook! And that you can never pre-judge what it is they will want, so offer them the best!”

For any trip for a couple, no matter what they ask for, Barbour always, always suggests Sandals Resorts, and then gives at least a small bit of information on the product. “Even if they do not choose Sandals Resorts on that trip, for future trips it will be something for which the seed has been planted, and they often end up eventually wanting to see what Sandals Resorts are all about.”

Barbour says she likes the new modern look Sandals Resorts has adopted for its upgrades and new resorts. The sleek white rooms are a big change from the mahogany furnishings and more traditional colours Sandals Resorts is typically known for. But first impressions are important, says Barbour. Especially for clients who are comparison shoppers.

“While at the end of the stay the modern look may not seem as important anymore, it is the direction many other chains have gone, and before the stay has been experienced the look they see in photos is what they are comparing it to. So the appeal to the target market needs to be there in order to open the conversation,” she says.

“An updated state-of-the-art bathroom is the defining factor in a great room in my opinion, so any move to make that the norm makes it even easier to sell.”

For any trip for a couple, no matter what they ask for, Barbour always, always suggests Sandals Resorts, and then gives at least a small bit of information on the product. “Even if they do not choose Sandals Resorts on that trip, for future trips it will be something for which the seed has been planted, and they often end up eventually wanting to see what Sandals Resorts are all about.”

Barbour says she likes the new modern look Sandals Resorts has adopted for its upgrades and new resorts. The sleek white rooms are a big change from the mahogany furnishings and more traditional colours Sandals Resorts is typically known for. But first impressions are important, says Barbour. Especially for clients who are comparison shoppers.

“While at the end of the stay the modern look may not seem as important anymore, it is the direction many other chains have gone, and before the stay has been experienced the look they see in photos is what they are comparing it to. So the appeal to the target market needs to be there in order to open the conversation,” she says.

Posted by Kathryn Folliott – Managing Editor at Travelweek

TPI Announces Commitment to Children’s Wish Foundation TPI Fulfills Celia's Wish

TPI Announces Commitment to Giving by Fulfilling Celia’s Wish 

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a top 30 Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, today announces its commitment to The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada by fulfilling Celia’s wish of traveling to Disney World in Orlando, FL, to meet her favourite Disney Princesses.

This past December, TPI revised its annual holiday tradition of sending cards and gifts to its valued partners and instead sent e-cards and donated funds directly to The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada to assist this worthy charitable organization in granting wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

“Given that most of the wishes granted by The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada involve travel, it was an easy choice for us to make this charity our focus,” said Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO. “In addition to this annual holiday donation, our commitment to their work will involve our travel advisor and partner network in fundraising activities throughout the year.”

“We are very excited to be working with TPI this coming year to grant even more wishes for deserving children within our community,” stated Maria Toscano, Provincial Director – Manitoba & Nunavut, The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.  “TPI’s partnership with The Children’s Wish Foundation will have a tremendous impact on wish children like Celia who will soon be taking her wish trip to Disney World.  Celia will visit the Magic Kingdom, the Bibbidi, Bobbidi Boutique for a princess makeover, and so much more. Thank you TPI for your generous contribution and for creating the magic of a wish!”

Celia
Age: 4 years old
Diagnosis: Complex CHD
Wish: Orlando, Florida- Disney World

Celia was born with a congenital heart condition called Tricuspid Atresia, which essentially means that only half of her heart formed properly in utero. The right side of her heart, that should pump blood to her lungs to be oxygenated, wasn’t developed. Luckily Celia was also born with several holes in her heart that allowed some blood from her left side to “accidentally” get some oxygen, and then circulate to the rest of her body using the left side. Because she was only getting some of her blood oxygenated, she had low energy and her lips and fingers were pretty blue. Her condition was not detected in prenatal ultrasound, so the family had no idea anything was of concern until her second day checkup after she was born. Celia has had a handful of major surgeries and done countless hours of physiotherapy and is now able to enjoy ballet class and enjoy being a four year old little girl.
Celia’s most heartfelt Wish is to go to Orlando, Florida and visit Magic Kingdom at the end of the year. She plans to spend the week dressed up in Princess Gowns, getting a Princess makeover at the “Bibbidi, Bobbidi Boutique” & meeting all of her favourite Disney Princesses.

TPI Advisor only Canadian chosen for Virtuoso’s Saveur Advisory Board Congratulations to Diane Cook!

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a top 30 Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, today announces that Diane Cook of Fergus, Ontario, a TPI advisor, is the only Canadian travel advisor named to the very prestigious advisory board of Saveur Magazine. New York City-based Saveur is allied with Virtuoso, the leading global network for luxury and experiential travel.

The partnership between Virtuoso and Saveur brings together a very select group of advisors – Virtuoso’s Saveur Advisory Board – who work with Saveur Magazine staff to create customized travel itineraries with a focus on food and fine dining. Saveur Magazine is the most trusted voice in cooking, eating, and global discovery. As stated on Saveur.com: “The definitive go-to guide for passionate cooks, stylish entertainers, and culinary explorers, Saveur celebrates a world of great eating with delicious recipes, inspired travel tales, and actionable advice for the ultimate epicurean lifestyle.”

Cook underwent a rigorous screening process to earn her role on the Saveur Advisory Board and her selection was based heavily on her specialization in food and wine-related travel. As a result of her participation in the Saveur Advisory Board, Cook will be providing Saveur with custom food-oriented travel itineraries from personal experience, collaborating with Saveur’s advertising partners, attending Saveur events and providing Saveur readers with expert advice through Q&As.

“We are thrilled that Diane has been included in the Saveur Advisory Board,” said Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO. “Her expertise in culinary travel is top-notch and her involvement in Saveur will be an excellent way for her to continue to expand her talents. It is wonderful to see our advisors take full advantage of TPI’s membership with Virtuoso and the many opportunities within their extensive network of superb partners.”

“Our longstanding partnership with Saveur is a recognition of the superior expertise Virtuoso advisors offer in culinary travel,” said Angela Roditi, vice president, Alliances at Virtuoso. “Only Virtuoso travel advisors are eligible to serve on the Saveur board, and this alliance is one more valuable way that network advisors can distinguish themselves from the competition by highlighting the remarkable food-focused journeys they’ve created. Travelers today are craving authentic culinary experiences, and Saveur readers will benefit from the skill Diane and the other Virtuoso board members will showcase in bringing destinations to life in the magazine’s pages.”

Diane Cook
Diane Cook – TPI Advisor
Click here to reach her

 

 

 

 

 

 

TPI goes for quality over quantity with invitation-only recruitment “That strategy is paying dividends for us”

Interview with Tim Morgan – by

TPI started off the year with single-digit growth and February is continuing the upward trend with double-digit growth. Commissions continue to outpace the growth of travel sales, says Tim Morgan, Vice President,
TPI – Travel Professionals International, in this edition of Sphere’s Insider Interview.

Sphere: You’ll soon be a familiar face at Toronto and GTA area industry events with your relocation to Toronto this spring. Is your move an indication that TPI wants to grow its presence in Ontario and increase market share across Canada?

Morgan: “TPI has always had a strong presence in Ontario – it accounts for over 37% of our existing travel sales – and we see it continuing to contribute strongly to our organization. We have had various managers, directors, and executives based in Southern Ontario over the years, including our incredibly capable current Ontario Regional Sales Manager, Rhonda LaFosse, and I’m very excited to be able to join Rhonda to contribute to TPI’s continued dominance in Ontario and across Canada with this move.

“Between our Regional Sales Managers across Canada, our National Director of Sales and our President and CEO in Winnipeg, and me in Toronto, we will continue to increase our market share across the country.”

Sphere: How many members does TPI have currently and what’s your goal for 2017?

Morgan: “We’re not so concerned with membership numbers as we are with the quality of the members’ sales.

“Two years ago we drastically paired down our recruitment efforts to focus specifically on highly-qualified individuals through an invitation-only approach.

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“That strategy is paying dividends for us in terms of the quality of each travel sale, namely higher margin types of travel that our advisors are booking. This benefits all TPI travel advisors because we’re able to devote greater support services to a smaller cumulative group of advisors.

“In addition this focus on highly-qualified recruitment produces higher commissions and service levels from our preferred partners which directly benefits all our travel advisors.”

Sphere: TPI has some stand-out travel agents. What do members tell you they like best about TPI?

Morgan: “TPI has incredible travel advisors – the best in the business. What our travel advisors say they like most about TPI is each other [laughs]. It’s true though – the best thing about TPI are the incredible travel advisors that are part of our network across Canada.

“We constantly hear about the benefits of them networking with and learning from their peers – whether via social media, our regional meetings, our annual conference, or otherwise. Our travel advisors love to work together and they love that we encourage them to share and help each other because that is what we do corporately every day as we help them grow their business.

“We are nothing without our dedicated head office team and our passionate advisors, and the best part is that everyone is working together toward the same goal – success for our travel advisors.

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Sphere: How are sales volumes looking for 2017 for TPI members – what sort of feedback are you hearing from the front lines?

Morgan: “We just finalized our mid-year results (for the six months ending 31 January 2017) and while the latter half of calendar 2016 was somewhat of a mixed bag when it came to sales, January started off the new year with single-digit growth and February is continuing the upward trend with double-digit growth.

“Travel commissions continue to outpace the growth of travel sales which is fantastic news for our travel advisors – through higher margins, they’re putting more money in their pockets than ever before.

“Our main corporate push with our travel advisors over the last two years has been to ‘work smarter, not harder’, specifically when we look at the type of travel they’re selling to boost their commission margin – and it’s working.

“With a focus on higher margin product, we’re seeing strong increases particularly in cruise sales and in the service fees that travel advisors are charging for their valuable services across all travel types, including ITC groups.”

Morris-Chia-TPI-President-CEO-Jan-Swartz-Princess-Cruises-President-Tim-Morgan-TPI-Vice-President

Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO; Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises President; Tim Morgan, TPI Vice President at a recent Princess Cruises’event