Sunday,  April 21, 2019  1:13 am

Agents explore luxury with Air Canada Vacations' Ultimate Escapes

Agents explore luxury with Air Canada Vacations' Ultimate Escapes
Of Air Canada Vacations : (from left) Dianne Pedroso, area sales manager; Krista Cardona, area sales manager; Federico Berardinucci, manager, national sales; Nino Montagnese, managing director.
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

A select group of travel agents got an up-close look at Air Canada Vacation’s luxury offerings yesterday (Feb. 8), during an afternoon dedicated to the tour operator’s new Ultimate Escapes brochure.

During the event, agents had the opportunity to meet with several of ACV’s hotel and resort partners featured in the brochure, including Velas Resorts, Karisma Hotels, Casa De Campos and Caribbean Castles. Nino Montagnese, ACV’s managing director, told PAX that the new brochure, which was several years in the making, is giving top-selling agents something new to offer their discerning clients. While much of the Ultimate Escapes product was previously included in the main ACV brochure, Montagnese said that sales have increased significantly since the launch of a dedicated luxury collection.

“We tend to focus on selling quickly and whatever the customer wants, but there’s clients who are willing to pay higher prices for good product,” Montagnese said.

Montagnese described the collection as a natural pairing with Air Canada’s continued network expansion, with an eye toward appealing to the airline’s corporate travellers. “For us, it was a natural just because of the air and some of the destinations we’re going into,” he told PAX. “We’re aligning ourselves with the Air Canada client and their needs. What does a corporate client want in a leisure product? It’s typically a shorter stay with a luxury product located somewhere that they can unwind. We tried not to go with mainstream offerings.”

And while the first edition of Ultimate Escapes is mainly focused on sun destinations, with properties in regions such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii and Las Vegas (along with packages from Azamara Club Cruise), future brochures will expand beyond that.

“It’s a smaller brochure and it’s going to evolve,” he said. “The first one is very sun-focused, with a little bit of the U.S. and Azamara Club Cruises, but next year’s brochure will feature more of our product lines – less sun but still very high-end product, such as luxury in Europe, Asia and more of the U.S.”

Ultimate Escapes at a glance

In a presentation during the event, Dianne Pedroso, ACV’s area sales manager, provided additional details on the Ultimate Escapes collection:

  • The brochure focuses on three regions, including the Caribbean, with properties in Antigua, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Turks & Caicos; Mexico, including packages to Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Los Cabos; as well as Hawaii and Las Vegas.
  • Packages include round-trip flights, free seat selection and preferred seats, private round-trip transfers and a one-time bonus of 1,500 Altitude Qualifying Miles for Air Canada Altitude members.
  • Packages can be upgraded to Business Class or Premium Rouge; for groups looking for the ultimate luxury, Air Canada Jetz offers private jet service.
  • Agents can easily recommend packages to clients, with packages organized by category such as spa, golf, watersports, weddings and honeymoons.