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.
It was a night for Material Girls, Pet Shop Boys and Karma Chameleons.
As The Travel Agent Next Door moonwalked into day two of its national conference, MORE™ U, currently underway in Nayarit, Mexico, Air Canada Vacations (ACV) hosted a bopping ’80s party Monday night (April 29) to show their support.
“Air Canada Vacations was born in the ‘80s, so we’re going back to the ’80s,” Krista Cardona, an area sales manager at ACV, told PAX, which is currently covering the conference on location at the all-inclusive Iberostar Selection Playa Mita.
READ MORE: TTAND’s 2019 national conference, “More U,” kicks off in Mexico
Conference attendees – home-based travel agents, agencies and associates from across Canada, as well as suppliers – were encouraged to wear their best ’80s garb, which included everything from neon green headbands to Rocky Balboa-inspired boxing robes.
“We want the agents to have fun. Conferences can be draining, so we just wanted to put on a party and let people have a good time,” Cardona said.
Spotted at the Queen, AC/DC, and Simple Minds-infused rumpus, which unfolded on the resort’s oceanfront terrace, was Erminia Nigro, general manager for sales in Ontario and national accounts at ACV, a role she started just three weeks ago.
“Our colours say it all,” Nigro told PAX, referencing her and Cardona’s black and red outfits. “We’re themed-up in Air Canada colours and we’re showing the love and the appreciation.”
Cardona remarked on the “good quality of agents” she has, so far, met at the week-long conference, which runs until May 5th.
“They’re attentive and they want to learn,” Cardona told PAX.
This year is about U
TTAND’s 2019 conference has brought together more than 130 travel agents for a week of fun and networking alongside more than 30 preferred suppliers and TTAND's support staff.
This year’s theme, MORE™ U, a play on university life, is about “putting a face to your brand,” Shean Carmichael, TTAND’s director of marketing and communications, told PAX at the conference’s welcome bash Sunday night.
MORE™ U also alludes to finding a healthy work-life balance, as attendees will learn from this Friday’s keynote speaker, business coach Pat Mussieux, who will deliver a speech entitled “You’re Killing Your Business Because You’re Killing Yourself.”
“I've never seen anybody do a conference quite like TTAND does a conference. It’s the best,” Paula Stewart of Stewart Travel Group, told PAX. "Every time we walk away from this conference, we take our relationship with suppliers to the next level. That is invaluable.”
Flemming Friisdahl, founder of TTAND, got the ball rolling at a welcome session early Monday morning, where he also announced this year’s supplier awards.
The winners, voted by TTAND agents, were as follows:
- More supportive tour operator: Transat
- Most supportive land/guided tour programs: Goway
- Most supportive ocean cruise partner: Royal Caribbean International
- Most supportive river cruise partner: AmaWaterways
- Most supportive FIT partner: TravelBrands
- Most supportive speciality product partner: G Adventures
- Best overall approved supplier partner: Goway
- Best overall preferred supplier partner: Transat
Friisdahl also announced TTAND’s top performers for 2018: Cindy Almond, Cynthia Davidson, Renee Gancasz, Travis and Paula Stewart, Sharlene Philipchuck, and Shelley Cota.
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TTAND’s 2019 national conference, MORE™ U, runs ’till May 5th. Check back with PAX for more pictures and updates!
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