"Highest Turnout Ever" to TL Network's Regional Conference

Travel Leaders’ Christine James, Vice-President-Canada
Travel Leaders’ Christine James, Vice-President-Canada

It was all systems go on Wed 26OCT at the Delta Hotels by Marriott/Toronto Airport as some 200 travel advisors and managers and 44 industry suppliers convened at TL Network Canada's regional event.

The agenda included a trade show, panel discussions with preferred partner updates on everything from insurance to cruises, and dinner with sponsor presentations and prizes.

“This is our highest turnout ever - and its our 23rd Regional Event,” a clearly pleased Christine James, Vice-President Canada of TL Network told a group of travel trade media, including Open Jaw. “Clearly our members are eager and everyone wants to meet face to face.”

Agents attended a host of events including a presentation by Seabourn Cruises
Agents attended a host of events including a presentation by Seabourn Cruises

There are similar events planned for YYC (07NOV) and YVR (09NOV).

The industry powerhouse, with nearly 700 members across Canada and a whopping 56,800 in the US, continues to grow. Even during the pandemic, agencies were joining – 42 last year alone – and this year TL Network has welcomed 39 new members year-to-date. James cited Kemp Travel and 510 Travel as two well-known recent Canadian additions.

And business is booming, with clients booking trips of longer durations and higher quality products. “And more exotic,” commented James. Cruise bookings now comprise 36% of their business.

One huge success story, according to James, is TL Network's Agent Profiler, a lead generator which allows advisors to list their specialties and post client reviews. “It’s proven to be a true home run, with the average booking on a profiler lead being $6,500. Additionally, our Specialist Program provides instruction in five areas of expertise (Newcomers; Weddings and Honeymoons; Luxury; Groups; and Active and Adventure)."

Sunwing’s Lorraine Brisbois with 510 Travel’s Ron and Mary Tereshyn
Sunwing’s Lorraine Brisbois with 510 Travel’s Ron and Mary Tereshyn

If there’s one fly in the ointment, it’s staffing – both from the travel agency and supplier side. James commented that during COVID, agencies lost a lot of talent, a number of advisors decided to retire early, and it’s hard to find replacement staff.

Staffing at suppliers, for example call centres, is clearly facing similar challenges. “We need to get support and service back on track.”

On a brighter note, many TL Network advisors and managers are looking forward to the next international conference, Edge, taking place at the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville 08-11MAY 2023. “People are booking their flights already,” said James.

Find out more at TL Network's web site.

Suppliers present included Linda Khanna of Tourcan and Kimberly Hartley of Visit Myrtle Beach
Suppliers present included Linda Khanna of Tourcan and Kimberly Hartley of Visit Myrtle Beach

Martha Chapman

Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha can often be seen On The Town covering industry events. Known to all in the biz, Martha has worked her entire career in travel, beginning as a teenaged hotel receptionist in Bermuda.

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