08 DEC 2011: Transat was at the races this week so travel industry insiders couldn’t help but get in on the turf. The travel company launched its latest 2012-2013 Europe season and in true Transat style selected an aptly themed venue for the latest release.


Key suppliers, agents and trade media gathered at the ultra chi-chi Turf lounge lauded for the fab off-track betting on the premises, so many hedged their bets with some lucky agents donating their winnings to SOS Children’s Villages, a Transat partner since 2009.

“In lieu of corporate gifts, Transat Canada made a donation to SOS Children's Villages on behalf of every attendee. Those agents who were lucky at the on-site horse wagering also donated funds in excess of $300 to this very worthy cause,” reported Galit Ben-Ary, marketing manager with Transat Tours Canada Inc.

Present was new president, Allen Graham, who got a huge job overseeing the airline, the tour operations and the retail divisions.

And Nicole Bursey, who has replaced Nancy Jackson as Transat Holidays and Nolitours as commercial director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, is wagering on more land tours, more cruises, and more direct flights to your clients’ favourite European hubs.

“A key focus this year is more emphasis on the land programmes in Europe,” she noted.

The 243-page booklet showcases 34 European destinations with 23 of them departing from Ontario.

“All products should be opened in mid December particularly in the group’s area,” said Denise Heffron, national vice-president for sales and commercial.

Here’s the Transat scoop on how to get ahead of the European races.

La Dolce Vita: Italy
Expect daily direct flights from YYZ to Rome. The increased frequency will most likely score high points with the cruise crowd. Watch for more land options too. Be sure to check out the Slow Food vacation packages for Tuscany, Sicily and Venice.

It’s all Greek
The Greece program is important and is customizable for your clients. “Let the brochure be a guide for you and a guide for the client. Don’t think that what is housed in the pages is all that we can offer for Greece,” reminded Nicole.

Smooth sailing
Transat recently inked a deal with Pullmantur cruises, a member of the Royal Caribbean International, and starting next spring, cruises will sail the Mediterranean, North and Baltic Seas. For Europe sail departures, many major European cities, including Barcelona and Rome, will be offered. “Clients booking an Air Transat flight and cruise together will automatically benefit from the double protection plan,” reported the company in a press release.

Euro-land

Coach tours and group tours are popular so Transat has a great menu of trip options available in many favourite European hubs.

Self-made Euro
Transat Holidays is catering to the growing independent travel client who prefers extended stays or enjoys self-catering so watch for the A la carte accommodations. These accommodations cover hotels, apartments, B&Bs, and villas across a wide range of European destinations.

Portugal

A favourite destination, watch for direct flights to many Portuguese hubs like Lisbon.

Cool promos
A Euro cruise just got cheaper. Couples can save up to $300 on a roundtrip flight when booking a Transat Holidays cruise with departures from April 1-October 31, 2012. Offer valid on new individual bookings made before December 31, 2011.

Training Academies
Transat Holidays knows you are in the thick of selling winter products right now so has pushed back its training academy dates until February. “We want to make sure their focus is on that right now but we want you to know everything will be open in the system in mid December, but we will hold off our training academies until February,” said Nicole but added, “If you feel agents in your office could use some training before the official training academies our sales team is certainly geared to do (this).”

Now it’s back to the races.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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