You Have Questions – We Have Answers
Deciding on your path forward can be difficult at the best of times. After all, the agency you align yourself can have a big impact on your growth, your success and ultimately your happiness. At Vision Travel we believe the partnership will only success if it is a good fit. That’s why we start things off with a conversation and decide on a path forward from there.
The following are a series of questions that are typically raised in many of our conversations so we want to share them with you so you can be as prepared as possible.
How long has Vision been in business?
Our roots go back 1953, to Rogers Travel: a single but very successful travel agency in Toronto. In Montreal, we were founded as Holiday Travel back in 1955.
Over the years we have grown, adapted, expanded and now Vision Travel – in Quebec Les services Direct Travel – along with Direct Travel (the corporate travel division) and Creative Travel (groups and incentives division), sold over one billion dollars in travel across North America in 2019 – some $500 million of which was leisure travel.
How long has Vision had an Independent Travel Advisor (ITA) program?
Since the beginning.
Back then ITAs were called “Outside Sales Representatives” – people who had good connections in their community (nurses, teachers, firefighters) and who would refer business to us for a commission. It was very much a fun “hobby.”
Nowadays, our ITA program is one of the most professional and successful in Canada and provides meaningful, rewarding full-time employment for hundreds of people.
How many ITAs do you have?
At time of writing (early 2020) we have over 400 ITAs across Canada. Direct Travel has over 750 across North America.
Do you accept and train newcomers to the travel business?
In a word, no.
We welcome people who have been working as travel advisors and who are looking to increase their revenue with a rock-solid system of support from their host agency.
Do I need to bring a minimum book of business?
No. If you are in the industry and what we offer appeals to you, we would love to hear from you. We have superstars who earn well into six figures, but also ITAs who handle only one or two large groups every year.
Where are your agencies located? Is it possible to rent a desk?
We have over 40 offices across Canada, and you are welcome to join any of our bricks and mortar locations and rent a desk. If you choose to work from home. you will be welcome to have client meetings in your nearest location, if that is convenient, and will be invited to supplier events such as lunch-and-learns at your nearest location as well.
What training programs do you offer?
We have a full welcome training to get you up to speed on how we operate (back-office, etc.)
We are Virtuoso’s number one supporter by volume here in Canada, and you will have access to the Virtuoso Training Academy, as well as training modules offered by our key suppliers. You will also be able to tap into technology programs, such as Umapped and Passport Online, some of which are personalized to Vision Travel.
As well as all the training, it is the daily support that makes Vision such a win-win for our ITAs.
What is your commission split arrangement?
It is a competitive, and fair, remuneration program. We have over 200 ITAs who earned over $100,000 in revenue in 2019, including some – and this includes former owners of agencies – earning well into six figures.
What do you offer the agency owner who wishes to come under the Vision umbrella?
Typically, we bring the owner/manager and his or her staff in as an ITA team and the staff continue to work with the owner/manager. We cannot stress enough that it’s customized to what you need. We take away your daily concerns: the banking, accounting, BSP, IT issues, government compliance and telephone systems.
Be assured, we are very respectful of the business you have built up and the relationship you have with your clients. This is why to date over 30 owner/managers have chosen to join Vision. If this sounds like you, please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss the options that fit your situation.
Can I trade under my own name?
All of our ITAs work with suppliers under the Vision brand (in Quebec under Les services Direct Travel brand), and we encourage that.
However, if you are joining from an existing agency or if you have your own established brand, we will be happy to discuss how we can best accommodate you.
Do you offer part time opportunities?
The vast majority of our ITAs regard this as a full-time profession. But if, say, you have a solid group travelling two or three times a year or one large annual event we would love to talk to you too.
What are Vision’s areas of specialization?
Luxury travel including high end cruising, worldwide FITs, and active/adventure travel. We also have very strong partnerships with the top hotel brands around the world.
Are there any synergies with your corporate travel division, Direct Travel (which used to trade as Vision Travel)?
Definitely! We partner with our corporate travel colleagues frequently to make vacation presentations to employees. We also offer an online booking engine that we call Travel Escapes.
We also benefit from the great air contracts and hotel programs that result from our corporate volume.
And your Group/Incentive/MICE division, Creative Travel?
This is another hugely successful enterprise, handling hundreds of groups (and hundreds of thousands of clients) every year. There can be some very attractive benefits for you, including finder’s fees.
How would you say you are different from other host agencies?
It’s all about support – and a culture that is passionate. Management at all levels is connected to the front line, and the back office support is second to none. You will instantly reap the benefits of our credibility, buying power and influence.
And – a small but important point – we don’t differentiate between our staff and our ITAS when it comes to leads, support, access to tools and how our ITAs are welcomed as part of the team.
We enjoy a sterling reputation in the industry. Members of our executive team are on the advisory boards of some of the world’s most prestigious travel organizations including Ritz-Carlton, Abercrombie and Kent, Tauck, Bedsonline, Travel & Leisure, Hilton Luxury Brands, Marriott Luxury Hotels, Belmond Hotels and Azamara Cruises. Our opinions matter, and we are honoured to say that these prestigious companies trust and listen to us.
We are also very proud of our unique relationship with Virtuoso. As one of their largest, and award-winning members, our values are very much in synch with Virtuoso. It is this fellowship which is one of the strongest reasons why ITAs join us.
But most of all, we are travel people. We all have extensive careers in the industry and a profound appreciation of how it operates and the importance of the day-to-day operation in your success.
OK, I’m interested! What next?
If you think Vision might be a good fit for you, contact Lynda Sinclair. firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-275-9283