The rebranding of Worldview Travel as Travel Edge, announced this week, shows that it is ‘ready for primetime.’
That was the assertion of Jeff Willner, owner and CEO, who told PAX that the company – which specializes in leisure, corporate & events and tours travel – is ideally positioned to positively impact the daily work of travel agents, both through the quality of its support staff and its finely-honed agent platform.
The rebranding consolidates various companies under the new Travel Edge brand, numbering around 700 salaried and contracted agents. It's a process that’s been underway for approximately a year and a half.
With tens of millions of dollars having been invested in these companies, which also served as a vehicle to test and develop the new technology, Willner is confident that Travel Edge has the tools to make a ‘real difference’ to agents’ work.
“We are [one of] the largest Virtuoso agencies in the world,” he commented, “and we’re certainly one of the largest luxury travel agencies in North America. We’re very proud not only of the technology platform… but also the quality of the support team.
"We have a ton of agent recognition, top performers events, a marketing team providing leads for agents… really, we view our agents as our clients, and our job is to make them tremendously successful, in both growth and profit.”
ADX: a platform for agents
Central to the company’s strategy for the travel community is ADX (Agent Digital Experience), a platform that acts as a one-stop shop for agents. Its features include a cruise GDS aggregator system, direct connections to 12 different cruise lines, insurance companies, hotel providers, multiple GDSs, and more. It also contains a CRM tool that interacts with ClientBase and an online dashboard helping agents track commission, with an itinerary tool providing side-by-side comparisons and live pricing.
The technology has its roots in Kensington Tours, the company Willner founded back in 2006. “One of Kensington Tours’ core advantages is a technology platform that we built ourselves,” he commented.
“About six years ago, we thought, ‘well, why not do the same with leisure travel agencies, and create a platform that will really help transform the profitability of a leisure travel agent?’”
Not only will ADX ease the daily workload for travel agents – it’ll also increase productivity and drive higher profits, according to Willner.
“What we’re really doing with ADX is giving the individual agent the power to become a personal tour operator,” he said. “All of our experience building Kensington Tours as a successful company – we’re bringing that to an individual leisure agent, and saying, ‘look, don’t be constrained by these 10 per cent commissions anymore. Let us help you get into a world where you can live on 20 per cent margins,’ which is absolutely transformational.”
A values-driven company
In the midst of the rebranding, Willner viewed retention of the company’s value proposition as essential, given its commitment to other initiatives. It’s provided over $250 million to in-country suppliers over the past decade, including hotels, guides, drivers, airlines and restaurants, while several million dollars have also been poured into building schools in Africa. Employee welfare, meanwhile, remains at the forefront of Travel Edge’s focus.
“[Our values are] all around this idea of giving back, both to our employees and to our clients, and helping make a positive difference in the world,” he said. “That’s the anchor point of our values – and then those values extend into the other things around what is our commitment to our employees, what our commitment is to our clients, and what our commitment is to the industry.”
The company has acquired various luxury leisure agencies throughout North America and Bermuda since 2011, and Willner confirmed to PAX that it is firmly focused on further expansion of both its leisure and corporate divisions.
“We are consistently doing due diligence on different agencies,” he remarked. “Any midsized or large agency owners who are looking for an opportunity to partner with a company who really understands how to do the back-office functions, while they continue to focus on growing their business with the support of better systems, better infrastructure and better tools, we’d be delighted to talk to them – whether leisure or corporate.”
Strong agent focus
With the company gearing up for the future under its fresh new image, Willner has an unsurprisingly clear message for the travel agent community: that Travel Edge remains fully focused on delivering products that will increase performance, productivity and, ultimately, profit.
“We’ve been working for half a decade to bring you [the agent] a new generation of tools,” he commented. “Our goal is to help you grow your business, but even more importantly, be much, more much profitable as a travel advisor.”
Travel Edge’s new-look website can be viewed here.