Travel industry partners from tourism offices and agencies joined top TravelBrands executives last night to mark a new era for the 18-month-old company.
Since acquiring a portfolio of 18 brands from Thomas Cook North America in May 2013, business has returned to profitability, according to CEO Frank DeMarinis, citing the success of a turnaround plan that was instituted among take-over which resulted in a more integrated company that is "thinking outside the box."
"The only way that we can be successful is by being different," he said. "The consumer is well-educated and we need to ensure that we stay one step ahead, providing the travel agent the desktop solutions they require."
"Michelangelo once said, 'I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free,'" Brian Klompas, executive vice-president, told guests. "Where other people saw a cold, hard slab of rock, Michelangelo saw an angel trapped in a stone. It's no secret that Sunquest has had its share of difficulties in recent years and I think it's even fair to say that some people believe the company was beyond repair. And yet, when most people saw the business in decline, a small group of visionaries saw a company that could reclaim its glory and saw the angel in the stone."
The new and evolving approach for Sunquest is based on three brand pillars: flexibility, choice and freedom, according to Brad Miron, vice-president marketing, who said "Sunquest is no longer a tour operator; it is Canada's travel company."
"It is being built on many different things from being aspirational, inspirational, educational, informational, and yes, then product and price and transactional."
This is the foundation of its new goGuide, which is currently being distributed to travel agencies across Canada - a publication centered around the concept of travellers creating and customizing their own trips.
The content and images are meant to inspire Canadian consumers to walk into a travel agency ready to book a dream vacation.
A new tagline, "Go your own way," works hand-in-hand with this tool, meaning, "However, wherever the consumer wants to go, Sunquest can help you get there," Miron explained.
The goGuide is also linked with the new Sunquest.ca website, just launched on Nov. 11, which is a revamped resource for both the agent and consumer in guiding a vacation choice. A new consumer-facing marketing campaign is set to launch next week, including a TV spot that showcases the flexibility and range of product to the tune of Fleetwood Mac's "Go your own way" hit single.
Additional tools coming online include a Deal of the Week, which Miron said will be "so value driven, your clients will not be able to say no." Travel agents can also look forward to receiving hard copies of an "Insider Agents Guide," providing informational tips on key selling destinations with Sunquest, Holiday House, FunSun and Intair.
And as Sunquest continues to evolve, Miron said that over the next 24 to 36 months, partners will see "an expansion with product all over the world."
"We know you expect great things of this brand and we will not let you down," Klompas said. "The Sunquest goGuide is just the beginning. I am very excited about the coming months and years ahead of us during which time we will transform Sunquest once again to being a truly iconic Canadian travel brand."
A reimagined ALBA Tours
Firdosh Bulsara, vice-president commercial, ALBA Tours, also took the opportunity to highlight the new direction of the long-standing brand.
As reported by PAX earlier this week, the tour operator is soon launching three brochures to mark the expansion of its product line-up including a 92-page 'Europe & the Mediterranean,' a 72-page 'Cruise Collection', and a 32-page 'Southern Hemisphere' product line.
The Europe & the Mediterranean brochure features the return of its Italy program, for which the brand is so well known, along with the introduction of touring options in Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Israel. It highlights a comprehensive overall program that offers everything from fully escorted tours and flexible short stays, to Greek island cruising, long stay holidays and various themed options, including a ‘Christian Europe’ tour that travels to spiritual sites in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy.
The Southern Hemisphere collection showcases other new destinations, primarily in South America including Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos, plus South Africa.
Click here for more.