BOLD NEW VISION: TTAND celebrates suppliers, sales success

The little things count, says Flemming Friisdahl, and one of them is a bold, new colour scheme for the logo of The Travel Agent Next Door. Featuring more vibrant shades of the previously soft palette colours, the strength of colours represents the confidence of the host agency in emerging from the pandemic and looking ahead going into its ninth year.

Indeed, TTAND’s CEO noted that the organization now has over 1,000 agent members in 2022, which is a far cry from its 60 agents (and three staff members) when it started in 2014. It’s even a boost over the course of the pandemic, where 250 members left the industry, but 450 new one joined.

Moreover, TTAND’s initial-year sales figure of $7 million will not only hit an expected $255 million this year but has increased almost 54% since 2019 ($165 million).

Speaking at TTAND’s annual VIP Supplier Event at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto last week, Friisdahl admitted, “We didn’t expect that; we thought it would be 2023 before it (business fully) came back.”

He added, “We believe we are the largest host agency in Canada.”

As for the logo, it also reflects TTAND’s new milestone numbers, including the tagline, ‘1,000+ agents strong,’ and is available in a customizable B2C version that lets members choose their own message/strengths, such as cruise, Europe, or weddings/honeymoons.

“We want agents to be able to promote their specialty,” explained TTAND’s new director of marketing, Antje Splettstoesser.

And in a nod to her German roots, she showed off an advent calendar promotion for December that offers members special supplier incentives.

Splettstoesser also revealed that TTAND is working on a new groups program and B2C website with self-management capabilities for consumers.

Flemming Friisdahl

Looking ahead to 2023, Friisdahl says he expects TTAND to grow to 1,200 agents, 50 staff, and a “minimum” $305 million in sales.

Of the latter, he says, “For us to be there, I think that means something!”

He noted to the supplier audience that everything TTAND does is mindful of their partner relationships, explaining that “if you’re not successful, we aren’t successful.”

To that end, he added, TTAND keeps it preferred partnerships modest (about 40), so sales are not diluted.

A notable new program coming next year, Friisdahl revealed, will be Z.I.P. (Zero Interest Program) – an adaptation of the extremely successful ‘travel now, pay later’ incentive offered by the former Sears Travel, which will allow clients to make deferred payments three, six, or 12 months after booking.

Friisdahl also showed a couple of videos: the first touting TTAND’s significant charitable support for Pencils for Kids, which supports schoolchildren in Africa; the second amusing clip – starring himself – at the site of next year’s annual conference at Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres, Mexico in April.

He noted that TTAND agents won’t have to pay to attend, nor will their membership fees (at $69/month and $19/month for primary and associate agents respectively) won’t increase in 2023.

More “little things” that count.


First published at Travel Industry Today