“There wouldn’t be any TravelBrands without travel advisors,” says Tanious. “We are fully reliant on travel advisors and we cater to and serve travel advisors across all our different product lines and workstreams.”

To show its appreciation for the advisor community, TravelBrands is pulling out all the stops for its Agent Appreciation Events in Toronto on April 9 and Montreal on April 10, both of which will include a record 91 participating suppliers, a tradeshow, cocktail reception, presentations and prizing.

And the love goes both ways, as evident by the 1,000-plus travel advisors expected to attend in total, all of whom will get the chance to learn about TravelBrands’ latest innovations, tools and resources designed to maximize their sales and enhance their business.

“We’re seeing more and more advisors seeking support and, specifically, training; they’re sponging in all this information,” says Tanious. “I always say, ‘We’re just as good as what we can offer in the marketplace.’ And today, we have a plethora of products and tools for travel advisors, and we’re constantly adding new ones. And when I say ‘products,’ I mean new technology, new initiatives within technology platforms to help advisors close that sale. And for us, that’s key.”



TravelBrands has been working on two major travel advisor platforms over the last two years: GiGi, which soft launched less than a year ago, and Access+, launched in February 2023 as a revamped and enhanced version of the Access platform.

GiGi, an air and consolidation platform described by Tanious as “avant-garde,” features ‘the calculator,’ which allows advisors to calculate fares, provide best rates for clients, and email documents and itineraries. A designated GiGi room will be featured at both the Toronto and Montreal events to allow advisors to experience it firsthand. 

“It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s simple and you have 80 different airline partners and then some, all in one single platform,” says Tanious. “The feedback has been extremely good because advisors no longer have to go to different partners to book their air. Whether they’re booking air only or booking with a land component and so forth, it’s all sitting under the one umbrella.”

GiGi is located on the newly enhanced Access+ platform, considered the hub of everything TravelBrands. New enhancements on Access+ include an improved hotel search widget, dynamic fly & drive packages, dynamic cancellation penalties, Loyalty Rewards points in the booking flow, and the capability to book river cruises online. 



News broke in February that TraveBrands is partnering with Travelweek on AI-based educational programs, products and services for both travel advisors and suppliers. Noting that artificial intelligence “isn’t going anywhere,” Tanious says, like many travel companies and travel agencies, TravelBrands is fully embracing AI technologies and is currently focused on acquiring data analytics, a measured approach that will serve the company well in the long run.

“Do people really know what AI will do for them? We ourselves are constantly asking the same question, but you have to start strategically. So for us, we’re starting with data analytics, then the next phase will be a chatbot (coming in summer 2024), then after that it’ll be about content and bringing that to the forefront. We have to do it strategically, in phases, and be intelligent when applying AI into our business as well as make sure we’re compliant with regards to privacy laws and everything in between,” says Tanious.



Following a “very good winter” that saw strong bookings, Tanious says post-pandemic pent-up demand continues to drive sales. Destinations across TravelBrands’ diverse portfolio have been selling well, particularly long-stays in Spain and Portugal, Italy and Greece, as well as cruising, which is available at price points that are hard to beat. Tanious also notes that more and more travellers are travelling to Europe in off-shoulder months, well into the end of October and early November.

“There’s no doubt in the last three summers that Europe has been very busy, which has led to big crowds. People are now saying they still want to go but they don’t want to have to deal with the crowds, so they’re pushing their vacations back a bit,” says Tanious. 

“Long-stays have also been phenomenal through our Exotik Journeys division. We’re seeing lots of long-stays to Spain and Portugal, even in the winter months,” she adds.



For travel advisors who’ve been slow to recover their business post-pandemic, Tanious has these words of advice:

“Don’t be afraid to upsell. There’s so much product out there. If you’re client is looking for ‘X’, offer them ‘X’ but also offer them ‘Y’ because customers want a travel advisor’s ideas and suggestions.

“I think travel advisors today have a huge opportunity to show their value. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that travel advisors are so important. 

“With all the different flights and options that are out there, nothing is unavailable or inaccessible. Hotels are back to their full capacities, a lot of the airlines have grown and they’re ready now with new routes in the marketplace. For travel advisors today, the world is their oyster.”

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