The TL Network is continuing its upward arc, with tremendous growth in Canada and new features for agents.
TL Network Canada Vice President Christine James sat down with TravelPulse Canada on Tuesday at the first of four Canadian regional sessions being held for advisors.
“We have about 600 agents in Canada and more than 450 are taking part in our regional meetings,” which began on Tuesday in Markham, Ontario, James said. “I think that’s remarkable. It shows our agents are extremely engaged.”
James, who celebrates 20 years with the company this year, said she believes the TL Network offers “the best in class for marketing, technology and tools” for agents.
“We make it easier for agents to bring customers in the door,” she said.
One program that’s quite popular is their agent profile campaign, where they hire professional writers to help agents create a profile they can send or display to clients.
“Someone might be a great agent, but they might not be so good at selling themselves,” she said with a smile. “We make them look like rock stars.”
With better profiles, an agent’s business jumps considerably, James said.
“We’ve had a 61% increase in leads in the last year,” and the average sale is $6,500.
James said the network has nearly 6,000 members; some 600 of them in Canada.
“Last year at this time we had 4,700 agents, and now we’re at more than 6,000.”
TL Network also is expanding internationally and counts as members the largest travel agencies in both Italy and Spain, she said.
“We’re now truly global.”
James said current trends in the market include honeymoon/wedding packages and action/adventure holidays.
“It’s a specialized field, but we can help agents become honeymoon/wedding experts with our training programs. It’s a huge opportunity and a huge market.”
The group’s PEAK program (Programmes, Education, Advisors, Knowledge) features two sessions in Toronto, plus one each in Calgary and Vancouver, James said.
“PEAK will provide ideal opportunities for both our owners/managers and frontline agents to connect with peers, educate themselves about our top-notch agency enhancing programs and discuss business strategies with supplier partners while learning how to tailor them to their own business needs,” she said. “Each will offer a memorable day of innovation, learning and networking that has proven both popular and successful, year after year, and will help agencies get the most out of their valuable TL Network membership while having fun.”
Back by popular demand at the fall regional events are member panels to help agents maximize their membership, as well as a sponsor supplier panel.
Tuesday’s panel in Markham featured a half-dozen experts talking about everything from boosting group travel to getting customers into the luxury segment of the market.
Shannon Smith of TravelBrands urged agents in the audience to use her company’s free marketing tools to help their business. Other panellists suggested agents approach anyone from yoga groups to church groups or soccer teams if they want to boost their group travel business.
Asked how an agent can grow their luxury business, Nathalie Daoust from Rocky Mountaineer said advisors need to know the benefit of the product and be familiar with what they’re selling. Great video also helps, she said.
“Show them the product and show them what the options are,” she said.
Ian Smyth of Norwegian Cruise Line said agents need to be specialists and experts in their field. One way to do that with cruise is to take the 10-11 hour NCL University course, he said.
Network events feature more than three hours of workshops or panels that cover the technology, marketing and selling tools available to members, frontline agency training, and TL Network programme updates.
Following the educational sessions for each event, members meet and network with more than 30 supplier partners during a one-hour interactive trade show, followed by a full-course plated dinner, where several grand prizes are drawn. All attendees will be eligible to win one of many travel prizes being offered by the network’s supplier partners.
Travel agencies interested in learning more about the award-winning programmes and diverse offerings that TL Network Canada offers agencies in leisure and luxury travel, business travel, destination weddings and honeymoon travel – as well as active and adventure travel – are invited to visit TLNetwork.ca. Potential clients may visit CanadianTravelAgents.ca.
About TL Network (Canada)
TL Network assists millions of leisure and business travelers annually and is one of the largest sellers of travel products and services in the travel agency industry. Representing approximately 5,700 travel agency locations across Canada and the United States. Travel Leaders Network’s award-winning Agent Profiler agent locator, marketing, technology, supplier partnerships and educational programs empower member agencies to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, grow their business and lead the industry. TL Network Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based Travel Leaders Network, LLC, which is a Travel Leaders Group LLC company.
TORONTO WEST: Thursday Oct. 10, Doubletree by Hotel Toronto Airport West, 5444 Dixie Road, Mississauga
CALGARY: Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Best Western Premier Calgary Plaza Hotel
VANCOUVER: Thursday, October 24, Fairmont Waterfront Hotel
The PEAK sessions are sponsored by Manulife, Sunwing, WestJet Vacations, Norwegian Cruise Line, Rocky Mountaineer, TravelBrands, Globus family of brands, Universal Parks and Resorts Vacations, Uncruise, G Adventures and AmaWaterways.