More than 400 agents attended the WestJet Travel Expo in Vancouver last week. Held at the Convention Centre downtown, the event saw a large trade show with 66 suppliers, followed by a presentation and endless prizes.
"Tonight is truly about you!" shouted WestJet's Vancouver-based business development manager Emily Spadafora as she took the stage. "WestJet is celebrating Travel Agent Month and let's give away some prizes!"
Brian Joseph of AMResorts - one of the evening's key sponsors - educated the audience about their adult-oriented and family brands. With 52 properties in Mexico and the Caribbean, growing to 100 by the end of 2020, AMResorts offers packages for families, couples and groups, with complimentary Indulgence Packages when booked through WestJet Vacations.
2016 was a big year for WestJet. The airline carried 22 million guests, representing an 8.2 per cent increase. WestJet also launched eight new destinations and this year will see an increase in capacity within Canada, specifically on the Vancouver-Montreal route which will go from six to 12 flights per week. Enhancements to the agent booking portal WestJet Agent will allow open jaw and multi-city searches as well as improved sorting capabilities.
These program enhancements and new routes are the result of WestJet working closely with the WestJet Travel Advisory Board. Made up of 43 agents across Canada and in its third year of existence, the group provides feedback, ideas and areas for improvement, "helping us do better business together," said Spadafora.
Next, WestJet's Director of Agency Sales Jane Clementino took the stage "to talk about the future." With 20 Dreamliners on order, a just-announced ultra low cost carrier (the program is still under development with more details to follow), and the expanded WestJet fleet, there will be something to fit everyone's budget.
"At WestJet, our core principle is our culture of care. If we look after our guests, our guests will look after us" said Clementino. And to the agents in the audience: "Thank you for trusting your customers with us."
The WestJet Travel Trade Expo toured six major Canadian cities and will be visiting secondary and tertiary communities in the near future. For upcoming events, visit www.westjettravelagents.com.