Nearly 150 agents were expected to attend Vacation.com's second regional conference of the year yesterday in Mississauga, preceded by a successful event in Markham earlier this week.
The theme of this year's four-city event is Belong. Inspire. Grow., echoing the new tagline that the consortium introduced earlier this year.
"Belonging is not just the agent belonging to Vacation.com - it's also the agent wanting the client to belong to them and inspiring their client to come back and book with them, and as a result, growing their business," Christine James, vice-president in Canada told PAX in an interview, joined by V.com President John Lovell.
New to this year's conference was speaker Kevin Kimes who lead the Owner Manager sessions with a “How to Succeed on taking Groups to Market” workshop. Attendees were also given updates on technological tools available to them, intended to support the success of members.
A Power Speaker session led by industry expert Stuart Cohen was titled “Critical 25 Tips for Achieving Remarkable Loyalty," delving into practices that could help drive loyalty from customers and with suppliers.
The day was topped off with a trade show and reception, featuring a number of V.com's preferred suppliers.
V.com now has 675 members across the country, and Lovell is confident that number will reach 700 by year's end.
"Growth" was a recurring theme throughout the conversation, as he said this is what drives the organization to build tools and strategies that provide added value, which has a cyclical effect in benefiting agencies and suppliers.
"We need to be on the cutting edge of all tools, and the development of those tools so we need to inspire our agents to be forward thinkers, to see where the next business opportunity is," he said.
But first, he said, the key is having a strong team, which he is confident is true for V.com in Canada.
"Once you have the right people in place, then you need the right tools, then you need the right supplier network to go along with those tools," he said. "When you pull it all together - people, tools, suppliers, the right members - then you have a value proposition that resonates."
Lovell echoed a message that many industry executives have been sharing recently - that many agencies are finding success by honing in their product and specialties.
Among trends they are noticing in the marketplace, river cruising continues to be a hot commodity, in addition to Europe product. They also noted an uptick in more exotic destinations as well, for example, in Asia and the South Pacific.