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’s more than just a name change.
Excitement, curiosity and questions filled the room at Travel Professionals International’s (TPI) 2022 conference at Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico on Monday (May 2) after Zeina Gedeon, company CEO, revealed a new name for the 27-year-old host agency.
Effective immediately, TPI will transition into Trevello Travel Group as part of a long-term strategy that will see the company expand into the United States.
“After what we went through over the last year, we had to evolve,” Gedeon told a full conference room of travel advisors and suppliers yesterday. “We needed to make this change in order to reflect the new company we are and what you represent.”
READ MORE: TPI rebranding as Trevello Travel Group to bolster presence in Canada & U.S.
Trevello refers to someone who is a natural leader, independent, individualistic, extremely ambitious, original and courageous – which is “everything that you guys are,” Gedeon told the crowd.
But there’s more to the rebrand than just a name change and new (purple) corporate logo.
Technology changes are coming
From now until roughly November, TPI will be unveiling major changes to its technology platform and compensation model, Gedeon told PAX in a one-on-one interview yesterday following Day Two of TPI’s national conference, on until May 6.
“We’ve really, really changed things, or will be changing them,” said Gedeon, who was reluctant to share specifics because the new features are currently being tested.
The CEO is staying tight-lipped until everything is 110 per cent good to go, but what we do know is this: technology will play a huge part in the company’s overhaul over the next six months.
“Our industry is archaic when it comes to technology,” Gedeon said. “For us to really address the true entrepreneur advisor that can be sitting in Zimbabwe, making a booking, we have to make significant changes to our infrastructure.”
TPI (or Trevello) advisors will have access to new tools, Gedeon confirmed, and new partners are involved in the tech upgrades.
(Gedeon declined to say who, but said “we have amazing news coming.”)
The changes will also enhance the backend experience for advisors and make invoicing “much faster,” Gedeon added.
In regards to advisor compensation, “It has been the same for years and years and years,” Gedeon said. “Everybody follows everybody, giving a bit more here and there.”
On that: “We’re doing a complete overhaul and coming out with something else,” she said.
Time to evolve
So, consider this a “developing story.”
But the top-secret project is something TPI has been working on “for at least a year,” Gedeon said.
The team realized it needed to evolve after spending months during the pandemic telling their own advisors to do just that.
“During COVID, we really pushed our advisors to look at their business and marketing plans,” Gedeon said. “And then we started thinking, “OK, but what are we doing?”’
“It’s great that I keep lecturing them, but we’ve been doing the same thing for 27 years. We needed to change.”
Activating July 1
“TPI Travel,” to be clear, is not disappearing, Gedeon confirmed, reminding agents that the new name will not impact their own branding.
Agents can continue to use TPI, or Trevello, or their own brand. Whatever they like.
But Trevello, as a “mother company,” will be front and centre in all of TPI’s consumer and media-facing materials moving forward.
The team’s t-shirts and emails already reflect the Trevello name and everything else, from government licences, TICO registration, along with updates to websites, will fall into place and kick in on July 1, 2022, Gedeon said.
What's in a name? A lot.
The new name – though just one piece of the TPI puzzle – is what’s guiding the company’s expansion into the U.S. market.
As industry insiders may know, there’s a U.S.-based company with a similar name to TPI called Travel Planners International.
It’s completely separate from Canada’s TPI, but the similarities between the two have been known to cause confusion in the host agency space.
Even to this day, Gedeon says TPI (Canada) still gets calls from U.S.-based advisors looking to join the company.
So the name Trevello should help straighten that out and help position the Canadian brand accordingly as it enters new territory.
TPI advisors are, however, no stranger to having U.S.-based clients.
Gedeon says that of her top ten agents, “almost more than half” are conducting big business with U.S. customers – a commentary on the fact that Americans, partly due to relaxed border restrictions, started travelling a lot sooner than Canadians during the pandemic.
From a supplier perspective, TPI’s transition into Trevello will mean “a stronger company,” Gedeon said, noting that when U.S. agents and suppliers are involved, contracts will be separated from Canada, and different.
“Everything we do is driven by helping our advisors succeed,” she said.
Meanwhile, TPI’s other brands, like Cruise CEO, a cruise-focused host agency that launched in Canada last year, will remain active.
Recruitment in that space, however, has slowed because the system is going to change completely in six months, which will involve a lot of time to retrain the network, Gedeon said.
But keep your eyes peeled, people. A new name, it appears, is just the beginning.
“We have other balls that we are juggling,” Gedeon said.
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