Thursday,  July 7, 2022  3:05 am

Carlson Wagonlit Travel fall training ends on high note in Vancouver

Carlson Wagonlit Travel fall training ends on high note in Vancouver
From left: CWTs Mark Stubbert, senior director North America Operations, NORAM Leisure; Louise Gardiner, senior director, associate program Canada, Inspirational Speaker Sébastien Sasseville; and Úna O'Leary, senior director, marketing and supplier management, North American Leisure.

“Are you pumped? Are you ready? Whooo!” Speaking to a packed room at the Hilton Vancouver Airport, Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s (CWT) Louise Gardiner, senior director, associate program Canada, wrapped up this year’s CWT fall training academy with a high energy presentation on the theme of “Your World of Possibilities.”

Stressing the message that CWT’s success lies in its people, Gardiner told the crowd, “Technology will evolve but travellers will always value us. You can’t find out everything from Google!”

Citing stats from the Canadian Tourist Research Institute which say that Canadians travel more than two times the rate per capita than Americans, and that 73 million baby boomers are about to retire, Gardiner emphasized the growth of this market which is projected to be a global spend of $35 billion annually on travel for pleasure, along with the growth of the Millennial travel market; two different kinds of travellers, both seeking different kinds of travel experiences, but both needing the kind of expertise that a company like CWT and its partners can provide.

Franchise associates, office managers and travel advisors from across Western Canada – from Manitoba to BC – gathered to take part in training sessions, listen to keynote speaker Sébastien Sasseville and meet supplier partners at the last of three cross-Canada training sessions. Stressing the importance of inspiration and story telling, Gardiner handed the mic over to Sasseville, who was the first Canadian with Type 1 Diabetes to reach the summit of Mount Everest, as well as running from St. John's, NL, to Vancouver in 2014 to raise awareness for Diabetes.

“It's all about the story,” Sasseville told a rapt audience. “Build the value and tell the right story and you don't have to sell. People love to buy and we're enabling people to build their dreams.” Sasseville’s 45-minute speech took life lessons learned in his incredible athletic endeavors and translated them into teachable moments for the travel trade. “Forget the summit, focus on doing well today,” Sasseville advised. “It’s the power of small actions that create success.” Advocating a culture of ‘consented adversity,’ Sasseville urged listeners to set higher goals higher than those offered: “Your brain is wired to survive and succeed,” he told an applauding crowd.

Úna O’Leary, CWT's senior director supplier management and marketing, North American leisure, told PAX that the training sessions had gone better than they’d even hoped: “It’s been like a big group hug! For us it’s a great thing to be able to share experiences, meet new people, learn from each other and share new ideas for growth – and have a little fun along the way.”

Despite the current economic climate from the falling Canadian dollar, ripples from the US election and post-Brexit instability in the European market, O’Leary was buoyant about the future.

“Regardless of all these things, Canadians are still travelling. The future is bright and, going forward, we want to inspire and engage with our partners and let them know not only have we done good things, but there are so many good things to come.”

Talking about the important relationship that CWT shares with RBC Rewards, Gardiner said “we have a good relationship with the RBC Rewards program and for those clients we leverage those opportunities to drive business to us. It’s a great program with an enhanced value proposition across the whole CWT network and this is a great opportunity for us to reinforce that message.”

Photo credits: Nikki Bayley & Dan Galbraith