Vision hosts top execs at business travel panel

With Ian Race, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Account ManagementFull length of businesspeople with luggage talking on railroad platform

We recently held our annual Power of Vision Conference for our staff and suppliers, this year in Ottawa. Some 400 attendees learned a great deal about the status of the travel industry in Canada. And who better to bring us up to date on corporate travel than some of the most senior execs in the business  at a panel I moderated?

So, straight from the horse’s mouth as it were…here are some of the trends and predictions:

Duncan Bureau, Air Canada’s Senior Vice-President of Global Sales:

The carrier now has three B787s with 35 to come, and by 2020 AC will have one of the youngest fleets in the country. A recent 10 year agreement signed with their pilots bodes well; and their Rouge brand (which  he admits got off to a rocky start with the airline not communicating its low-cost model as well as it could have) will be a big part of their growth strategy. “We need Rouge to compete with the budget and entrant carriers.”

John Pease, WestJet’s Director of Corporate Sales:

The arrival of our four 767s, their first wide-bodied aircraft, has been very well received, particularly the premium-economy product. Equally important, though, is WestJet Encore, their fleet of 78-seater Bombardier turbo-props, key to transborder and domestic expansion. And WestJet Connect, the inflight WiFi, has now been installed in 17 aircraft with more to come.

Sandy Taylor, Best Western International’s  Director of Worldwide Sales

Best Western is definitely targeting the business traveller and Business Travel News recently named it number 1 for upper-midscale properties.  There are now some 4,000 hotels wide under Best Western’s five brands (Best Western, Best Western Plus, Best Western Plus Executive Residences, Best Western Premier and Best Western Premier Collection).  Soon to come: Vib (pronounced vibe), the group’s new urban boutique hotels.