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TPI Travel Advisor Recognized Internationally

February 06, 2018

Lois Barbour

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.”

TPI Takes Top Canadian Spot at STAR Awards

January 31, 2018

Travel Professionals International (TPI) was once again named the Top Host Agency in Canada at the 16th annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (STAR) Awards held this past weekend at the Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa.

The STAR awards celebrate excellence in sales and recognize the agencies and individual advisors who utilize innovative selling techniques and employ outstanding marketing initiatives to sell the luxury Sandals and Beaches brand.

In addition to taking the Top Host Agency award, TPI was named a ‘Best of the Best Agency’ thanks to high sales productivity from its independent agents between August 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017.

And the accolades didn’t stop there.

Travel Time TPI (based out of St. John’s Newfoundland) received the ‘Best of the Best Agency’ award for its outstanding sales performance; Western Canada TPI was honoured with the Top Butler Travel Agency award for its high percentage of butler bookings.

Lois Barbour of Travel Time TPI was 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 2018.

“Congratulations to all our advisors across Canada for the outstanding job they do each and every day,” said TPI’s CEO Zeina Gedeon, who was on hand to receive the awards on behalf of TPI. “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 is a great pleasure to see them succeed. Being recognized with awards such as these truly shows the strength of the TPI organization and the commitment our advisors have to supporting their clients and our preferred partners.”

Zeina Gedeon Joins TPI as CEO

January 31, 2018

 

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 industry veteran Zeina Gedeon has joined the company in the position of Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, to focus on two key priority areas – growth and innovation.

“Zeina brings an incredible amount of experience to TPI,” said Morris Chia, TPI President. “Through this experience and her relationships, we are perfectly poised for Zeina to take TPI to the next level of growth and innovation.”

Gedeon’s growth priority takes aim at increasing sales and commission revenues for the company in addition to building TPI’s footprint, through acquisition of individual travel advisors, storefronts, and agency groups. Her innovation priority will further develop internal systems such as TPI’s exclusive Lynx platform, building on existing gains the company has made in lead-generation and automated content delivery for its travel advisors.

“Innovation cannot happen without the correct corporate culture, and TPI’s head office team and travel advisors have the incredible passion and knowledge needed to continue to grow and innovate together,” said Gedeon. “I’m excited to contribute to these ongoing efforts started under Morris’ leadership.”

Gedeon brings to TPI over 20 years of experience in the travel industry, including various president and vice president roles at companies such as Air Canada, Air Canada Vacations, and TravelBrands, in addition to her previous experience on TPI’s Corporate Advisory Board.

Gedeon is based between Montreal and Toronto and can be reached at zgedeon@tpi.ca.

Five ‘Life-Saving’ Items to add to Your Regular Packing List

December 07, 2017

You’re getting ready for your next trip. The suitcase is open on the bed, and you’re going down the list of everything you’ll need to take with you.

Sandals? Check. Wind breaker? Check. Sunscreen? Check.

Duct tape? Wait….what?

You read that correctly. A small roll of duct tape takes up a tiny bit of space, but can save you in tons of different ways. Patch a tear in your shoes, jacket, or trusty bag. Baby proof a hotel room in ten seconds by covering outlets and taping drawers shut. Hem your pants. Use as a bandage in an emergency. The list goes on and on.

Here are four more things that should become part of your regular packing list:

External USB battery charger. Nothing is more exasperating or panic-inducing than finding yourself lost and needing to pull up that email with directions, or that map to your hotel, or make a phone call — and having your smartphone conk out on you. Save outlet space in airports, hotels, train stations, and other oft-traveled places. Always have a way to charge up your phone, tablet, or other USB powered electronic device, even if there are no outlets available.

The humble safety pin can be an amazing asset. Aside from the usual functions — holding your pants or shirt together, for example, when you lose a button — they also can serve to bundle small items like jewelry orkeys, to keep everything organized and in one place. Discretely place a pin on the inside hem of a slip or satin jacket lining to eliminate static cling. Use them to attach easily-lost things like mittens to the zipper or hood of your kids’ jackets.

 

A few strips of chamois (or other absorbent fabric) in different sizes. You can keep them all in a zip-lock bag (along with a couple of other bags for temporarily storing used cloths until you can wash them) — but having different sizes helps for different situations, and it’s best to choose fabrics that are also quick-drying. Small squares for cleaning glasses. A washcloth for bigger spills or for freshening up at a rest stop. Use a bandana-sized piece to tie back your hair or, when dampened, tie around your head on a hot day to keep cool. A long, narrower strip can serve as an emergency belt, hair tie, ace bandage, or even a way to tie a bag closed if a zipper breaks. They even make fantastic travel towels, because they roll up into a compact size, suck up the liquid, and dry completely in no time at all.

 

My contact information. As your travel agent, my job doesn’t end when your trip starts!

It’s not common, but sometimes complications arise while you are traveling, and I am always available to youto assist with sticky situations you might find yourself in. (This is, of course, just one of the many perks of working with a travel agent!) Before your trip, you can make a “favorites” list in your phone of all trip-related contact info — my number and email address, hotel, car rental, reservations, etc. — for easy access. That way, I’m always just a call away. To find out more about the benefits of working with me and to plan your next trip, contact me today.

 

 

 

Why use a TPI Travel Advisor to plan your trip?

November 30, 2017

There used to be a time when travel was so daunting for ordinary people that experts were consulted whenever someone needed to book a train or steamer ticket. Nowadays, the Internet makes it possible to plan a trip with the click of a mouse, and many people are taking on travel by themselves.

However, as the travel world gets more accessible, it also becomes more saturated. Every destination includes a dizzying wealth of information, from the best time to visit to the cultural dos and don’ts, while choosing a hotel can mean wading through endless websites and online reviews. Add tour guides, attractions and restaurants to the mix and suddenly, planning your annual getaway takes way more than just a few keystrokes – it becomes rather overwhelming.This is where a travel advisor comes in handy. These worldly experts make it their business to trot the globe in search of the next great adventure or luxurious retreat, and they’re dedicated to giving you the trip you’ve always dreamed about – no matter what that entails.

Here are some reasons why you can’t put a price on expert advice:

A TPI Advisor knows people!   Sure, anyone can book a three-night deal at the Ritz. But can you secure an upgrade that includes breakfast, a spa credit and private city tours? Your agent can; she not only knows the general manager, she also sends the hotel a lot of overnight guests each year, meaning the Ritz wants to keep her happy. The best agents have long-standing relationships with companies and professionals around the world, and they’ll gladly share those hard-won connections with you, giving you access to perks you couldn’t get on your own.

A TPI Advisor is an expert and knows things based on experience and feedback! If this is your first time in a new destination, planning an itinerary on your own often includes relying on the suggestions of Internet strangers. Such guesswork can be risky, especially if you’re hoping for a unique experience, so why leave it up to chance? Your travel advisor has been where you’re going (probably more than once), and can recommend must-do activities, upcoming events, and even attractions to avoid – all tailored to your taste and budget.

TPI Advisors truly care about your trip as much as you do!  Our travel advisors are not only passionate about making your vacation dreams come true, they also know that a satisfied client is a client who returns – and makes recommendations. Advisors are just as invested in your trip as you, and will do everything possible to make it memorable – including designing an itinerary for your exact specifications, being available throughout your trip in case things don’t go perfectly to plan, and even arranging little extras along the way.

In the end, using a TPI Travel Advisor really comes down to value. Whether you’re looking for an elegant escape or somewhere new to explore, their expertise and insider access is guaranteed to bring you more bang for your buck – along with perks, flexibility and securities you’ll never find anywhere else.

Find your personal TPI Travel Advisor www.tpi.ca

TPI Hosts Over 300 at Record Number of Ship Tours

September 29, 2017

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 in Top 10 for Total Agency Attendance at Virtuoso Travel Week

September 12, 2017

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

September 12, 2017

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

June 30, 2017

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

May 05, 2017

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.

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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.

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)