Transat Holidays is a distinctly Canadian company, that has become one of the largest integrated travel companies in the world.
With about three and a half billion dollars in sales last year, they are big enough to have offices in and investors from around the world.
As a travel agency Renaissance Travel has worked with them for many years, and the relationship with the Journeys/Renaissance partnership not only is very strong but grows closer all the time.
Why is that?
It’s not that we deal with the head office in Montreal, Canada at all.
In fact if the senior executives of the organization were standing in front of me now, I would not even recognize them.
But it is the manner in which its business units that are allowed to operated independently withing the broad corporate guidelines that makes them strong.
It is the fact that we, as a strong, but single unit entity can work so closely with the Western division of the company to create programs that are win/win/win.
The consumer wins, our agency wins, and Transat Holiday wins by the support we are willing to give them.
Transat A. T. inc. as the corporate name which holds its various divisions, has been able to grow an amazingly strong company in the travel industry in a environment that was owned by huge international conglomerations.
But at the ground level it is not the bigness that matters. And as reference I will speak about the Western Canada operation based in British Columbia
It is the people and the service.
Every year they do a big launch for the winter product in Vancouver. They invite a number of Western based agencies who have given them consistent support to attend.
The event is always classy and informative.
It starts the wheels in motion for the sun destinations.
I thought for a long time the relationship was about the leader in Western Canada who just recently retired. Vic Nacleah is one of the gentlemen in the industry, who sets a tone in every meeting that leads you to know you will work out an agreement that is going to be good for all.
He certain provided the glue. He was easy to talk to, and as a travel writer and journalist, I found him an excellentnt contact for background information and context to an issue of lift and service.
But he is gone, retired, enjoying the good life he deserves.
The culture carries on. Why?
Because the people he left behind are similar in their service outlook and desire to create those similar win/win/win scenarios.
Paula Rizos and Carlo Trinidad have stepped into the complete roles of Vic and are wonderful to work with.
But it goes beyond the personal level.
I have been to their offices in Vancouver a few times.
There is an intangible that comes through to a guest like myself. There is kind of a relaxed spirit in the office.
But it really shone through at the launch event. The staff seem genuinely relaxed. They enjoy each others company and are free to joke and have fun with their travel agent clients.
That goes for all levels. It is not just from the contact people we meet or talk with on a regular basis.
It seems to permeate the entire organization of this business unit.
On a customer service level we have found them to be excellent. They have always offered excellent product but I see this year as being a banner year for them across the country.
From my observation, all tour operators have one weekness. It is the follow up on complaits and dealing with them to the satisfaction of everyone.
This is so important because it is the travel agencies who usual spends loads of time in trying to resolve situations they didn’t create.
The first solution to all this is to make sure problems are kept to a minimum.
There are very few problems with Transat bookings over a season.
While they too could improve their resolution process in this area as well, they are really quite good and we are able to bring forward those that are taking extra time from individual agents.
Recognizing this is sounding like a commercial for Transat Holidays, it wasn’t meant to be.
But observing people and participating in discussions with them has left me with an indelible impression of a culture.
Negotiations, like most, did not lead to Journeys/Renaissance winning on all points. But as Barrack Obama suggests…we could disagree without being disagreeable.