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

March 28, 2017

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

March 03, 2017

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

February 27, 2017

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

February 15, 2017

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.

“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.

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 at a recent Princess Cruises’event

TPI to Hold 2017 Annual Conference in Dominican Republic

February 01, 2017

PRESS RELEASE 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TPI to Hold 2017 Annual Conference in Dominican Republic

Travel Professionals International (TPI), a top 30 Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, today announces the details of its upcoming 2017 TPI Annual Conference, as the company enters its 23rd year in business.

Taking place 11-18 November 2017 at the newly opened Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa, a 457-room resort located within the exclusive gated community of Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, the 2017 TPI Annual Conference is being presented by TPI and AMResorts.

“We know that AMResorts is very popular with our advisors and the Dominican Republic is a very popular destination among Canadians so it is a match made in heaven,” said Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO. “In addition, our advisor network selected AMResorts as TPI’s Partnership of the Year, Advisor Choice – Specialty award at the 2016 Annual TPI Conference.”

Over 250 travel advisors, guests, staff, and travel partners are expected to converge in the Dominican Republic for the annual event, which is set to include site inspections, networking opportunities, keynote speakers, training workshops, excursions, and much more.

“AMResorts has a long-standing relationship with TPI, and we’re thrilled to be hosting this year’s conference at the flagship property of our Secrets Resorts & Spas brand, Secrets Cap Cana”, stated Jan Lapointe, Senior Director Sales & Marketing, Canada and AMRewards, AMResorts.

secrets resort

TPI and Karisma Set to Take Top Travel Advisors to Cancun

July 22, 2015

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

28 May 2015

TPI and Karisma Set to Take Top Travel Advisors to Cancun

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, is pleased to announce that its 2015 TPI Velocity trip for top performing travel advisors will take place 20-24 September 2014, in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Nearly 100 travel advisors, guests, and TPI Head Office staff will convene at the El Dorado Royale and Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma for the annual event which celebrates the top three tier levels of TPI’s travel advisor recognition program, Velocity.

“It is our sincere honour to welcome TPI’s top performers to our resorts,” exclaimed Mandy Chomat, VP Sales & Marketing, Karisma Hotels & Resorts. “Our Karisma family is looking forward to pampering these exceptional travel advisors as they enjoy the fruits of their labour.”

Unique to TPI advisors, the industry leading and exclusive Velocity rewards program is designed to recognize and encourage advisors to gain industry designations, participate in TPI and preferred partner functions, and build their businesses through increased revenue – while rewarding them with incentives such as higher commissions and the annual Velocity trip for advisors and their guests, among other perks.

“I’m looking forward to joining our executive team and our top advisors as we celebrate their success together in beautiful surroundings,” said Tim Morgan, TPI Vice President.

The 2015 TPI Velocity Trip is generously sponsored by, TPI preferred partners, Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Air Canada.

Bruce Poon Tip to Keynote TPI Annual Conference

July 22, 2015

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

22 July 2015

Bruce Poon Tip to Keynote TPI Annual Conference

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, is pleased to announce that Bruce Poon Tip, Founder of G Adventures, will be the keynote speaker at the 2015 TPI Annual Conference, taking place at the Melia Marina Varadero, Cuba, 16-19 November 2015.

“It’s our great honour to have Bruce join us for our annual conference,” exclaimed Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO. “Bruce has been a leading entrepreneur in the international travel marketplace for many years and as the owner of a fellow proudly Canadian company it’s my distinct pleasure to have him share his vast experience in business and social consciousness with our network of independent owners.”

Over 200 TPI travel advisors, guests, staff, and travel partners will gather in Cuba for the 2015 TPI Annual Conference which is set to include site inspections, networking opportunities, training workshops, excursions, and much more.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing with TPI the importance of social innovation and understanding how the sharing economy is revolutionizing our industry and customers,” said Bruce Poon Tip, Founder, G Adventures. “TPI is a great example of how the travel industry must evolve from being an industry of agents to supplying a valued service as travel professionals”.

G Adventures and Bruce Poon Tip have been consistently recognized by many organizations for leadership and outstanding business practices. G Adventures has been named by National Geographic Adventures as the best “Do It All Outfitter” on Earth, and is among the Top 100 Employers and 50 Best Managed Companies. Besides receiving an award as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, Bruce has received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and has won Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year and has been honoured as Canada’s 100 Leaders of Tomorrow. In Profit magazine, Bruce was featured as one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurs in Canada of the last 25 years.  G Adventures has always won one of the great places to work, most engaged work places and the Government of Canada’s Citation for Entrepreneurship.

The 2015 TPI Annual Conference is being presented by TPI and its preferred partners, including Transat Holidays/Nolitours, Melia Hotels & Resorts, and G Adventures, among others.

TPI Advisors Attend Virtuoso Canada Events

July 22, 2015

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

21 May 2015

TPI Advisors Attend Virtuoso Canada Events

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Top 30 Worldwide Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, sent 30 advisors and staff to the Virtuoso Symposium events in Toronto (May 12) and Vancouver (May 14) where they networked with many of the world’s leading luxury tour, cruise, and hotel operators during day-time sessions and at the TPI-exclusive cocktail parties in each city.

TPI to Hold 2015 Annual Conference in Cuba

April 23, 2015

Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, today announces the details of its upcoming 2015 TPI Annual Conference, as the company enters its 21st year in business.

Taking place 16-19 November 2015 in Cuba, at the Melia Marina Varadero, the 2015 TPI Annual Conference is being presented by TPI, Transat Holidays/Nolitours, and Melia Hotels & Resorts.

Image result for Melia Marina Varadero

“The combination of TPI’s long-standing relationship with Transat and Cuba’s popular destination status among Canadians makes this destination an exciting focus for our annual event,” said Morris Chia, TPI President & CEO.

Over 250 travel advisors, guests, staff, and travel partners are expected to converge in Cuba for the annual event which is set to include site inspections, networking opportunities, keynote speakers, training workshops, excursions, and much more.

“TPI has long held a close relationship with our company and we’re thrilled to be hosting this conference alongside our partners at Melia,” exclaimed Denise Heffron, Vice President, National Sales & Commercial, Transat Tours Canada Inc.

TPI Appoints Western and Eastern Sales Directors

March 23, 2015

WINNIPEG, CANADA – Travel Professionals International (TPI), a Virtuoso member and Canada’s leading network of independent travel advisors and agencies, is pleased to announce the appointment of Christine Winchester and Barbara Chamberlain-Ritchie as TPI Director of Sales, Western Canada, and TPI Director of Sales, Eastern Canada, respectively, effective immediately.

Image result for Barbara Chamberlain-Ritchie tpi

“Christine and Barbara bring exceptional experience to our existing management team bench strength and they will be key players as we execute on the next phase of regional growth for TPI and our advisors’ individual travel businesses,” said Steve Ruddy, TPI’s newly-appointed COO and SVP Finance.

Winchester had been a TPI advisor for 8 years (7 of those as a Platinum advisor – TPI’s highest production level in its Velocity advisor rewards program) and most recently reached the prestigious TPI Chairman’s Circle for TPI’s top 10 advisors in 2014. Prior to joining TPI, she worked for 13 years at Advantage Travel in Orillia, Ontario, starting as a junior travel agent and progressing to agency manager. In total, she has nearly 23 years of travel industry experience. Winchester is based in Invermere, British Columbia, and can be reached at cwinchester@tpi.ca.

Chamberlain-Ritchie comes to TPI with over 20 years of experience in the Canadian travel industry. She started out as a franchise owner for Cruise Holidays where she grew sales at the London, Ontario, office 6-fold in 18 months. Most recently, she worked with Cruise Holidays as Business Development Manager for North America and then as Manager of Operations and Supplier Relations for Canada. Chamberlain-Ritchie is based in London, Ontario, and can be reached at bchamberlain@tpi.ca.

As TPI’s sales directors, Winchester and Chamberlain-Ritchie are responsible for TPI’s regional efforts in growing its independent advisors’ and agencies’ travel businesses, working closely alongside TPI’s regional sales managers, Trudy McMillan, Rhonda LaFosse, and Lisa Geddes, in Western Canada, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, respectively

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