Saturday,  December 14, 2019  8:31 am

“Our advisors are incredible storytellers:” Travel Edge unveils filming studio in new office space


“Our advisors are incredible storytellers:” Travel Edge unveils filming studio in new office space
From left (of Travel Edge): Vivien Rethazy, luxury travel advisor; Liz King, luxury travel advisor; Michael Johnson, executive vice-president; Alla Weintraub, luxury travel advisor; Janis Goldberg, luxury travel advisor; Waldo Wohl, luxury travel advisor. Photo courtesy of Travel Edge.
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

New season, new digs.

Travel Edge kicked off October by welcoming 150 travel industry insiders to their new office at Yonge and Queen Streets in downtown Toronto – a bright and airy space, overlooking Saks Fifth Avenue, that includes a state-of-the-art film and media studio.

“One of our strengths at Travel Edge, as a differentiator, is our focus on innovation,” Michael Johnson, executive vice president at Travel Edgetold PAX. “The introduction of a media studio allows us to communicate with the industry in a very different and relevant way.”

The studio space, which comes with an in-house editor and director, allows Travel Edge advisors to film and edit videos which they can then share with their clients.

“Our advisors are incredible storytellers,” said Christopher Sherman, vice-president of brand strategy and marketing at Travel Edge. “They collect stories everywhere they go, and naturally we wanted to give them a platform to create content that will better build their business.”

Incorporating personalized video into everyday business is all about finding new and exciting ways for advisors to engage with clients in an impactful manner, Sherman explained.

Above all, the new studio has allowed Travel Edge advisors to become content creators in their own right.

“One of our luxury advisors went on safari and the intimacy and storytelling was incredible,” Sherman said. “We combined the conversation with personal photos and behind-the-scenes video from an iPhone and edited it all together.”

Michelle Leal, Travel Edge's vice-president of advisor services, called the new platform “super fresh.”  

“It’s content that is not old-school,” she said. “It’s about putting building blocks together so [advisors] can build their own business model and bounce off of it.”

It’s that progressive attitude that gave Travel Edge an edge, so to speak, at this year’s Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, where the company was awarded “Most Hospitable Travel Agency” within Virtuoso's communities.

“[The award] validated the work we’re doing around community engagement and was a celebration of both advisors and suppliers,” Johnson said.

From left: Karen Scott, director, business development, Travel Edge; Ken Brooks, director, Celebrity Cruises; Yolanda Molinuevo Ortega, sales executive Canada, Copa Airlines. Photo courtesy of Travel Edge.

Top performing advisors at Travel Edge are also eligible for “ultra-luxe” trips as a reward for their hard work.

“We recognize the travel advisor for the professional that they are, we celebrate their craft and we hope to acknowledge just how important they are by celebrating through awards and recognition trips,” Johnson said.

The host agency’s new space downtown, which replaces its previous location uptown near Avenue and Lawrence Streets, was built with open areas for people to meet and convene.

The aim of the new office is to help “foster a sense of community,” Johnson said.

“It facilitates engagement and dialogue not only around making sure we’re able to respond to advisors’ needs in the moment, but it allows us to take the company in a direction that resonates with the travel advisors because we get real-time feedback,” Johnson said.

Innovation has always been top-of-mind at Travel Edge.

The host agency was the first to publish its commission grids for the purpose of bringing a sense of transparency to the industry.

The company also has its own proprietary technology called Agent Digital Experience (ADX), a booking platform that allows agents to create seamless itineraries out of flights, hotels, cruises and insurance using feed through the GDS from Virtuoso’s partnerships and preferred suppliers.

“One of the things that’s great about Travel Edge is that we’re not afraid to try something new,”  Leal said.


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