Wednesday,  February 21, 2024 1:44 PM 

Transat looks ahead to 2017 with Europe launch

Transat looks ahead to 2017 with Europe launch
Of Transat: Robert Reed, director of national accounts; Lindsay Merrill, inside sales; Dan Prior, sales manager Ontario and Atlantic; Denise Heffron, VP – national sales & commercial; Mary Santonato, director – group sales; Erin Oddleifson, marketing director; Gilles Ringwald - vice-president, commercial; Steve Brown, inside sales.
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.

While most travellers are busy planning their winter escapes, Transat is already looking ahead to next summer as the tour operator launched its 2017 Europe program.

Transat invited trade partners to an intimate gathering in Toronto last Friday to officially unveil the new collection. Highlights of the program include:

  • One-city and multi-city packages allowing travellers to customize in-depth itineraries;

  • Six new cycling tours in France, Portugal and Spain, in partnership with Velo Quebec;
  • The Savvy Choice program, which allows travellers more flexibility by selecting accommdations with the hotel star rating of their choice;

  • 40 guided tours across Europe;

  • New one-stop ocean and river cruise packages, allowing travellers to explore multiple destinations in comfort.

According to Denise Heffron, Transat’s vice-president of national sales & commercial, the Europe program follows several months of reflection and re-evaluation by Transat on how to best leverage relationships with its trade partners.

“We were looking to maximize what we’ve always done,” Heffron said. “We took a hard look at the relationship side of the business and we were looking to find ways to better serve both are clients and partners… The one-size-fits-all approach no longer works and we are looking to work closer with our partners now more than ever before.”

Those changes also brought about Transat’s recent move to a “one-brand proposition,” Heffron said, which saw travel offerings from multiple sub-brands such as Nolitours united under the single Transat brand.

To connect travellers with the Old Country, Air Transat will serve dozens of European destinations from Ontario and Western Canada next summer. Gilles Ringwald, Air Transat’s vice-president of commercial, acknowledged that with this past summer providing challenges such as the current state of the Canadian economy and lingering fears of terrorist attacks Europe, the airline “will have a very different face” next year as it adapts its business model. He explained that leisure will remain as the “DNA” of Air Transat, and that interlining with other carriers is expected to commence next year, along with an expanded network and increased frequencies.

“We are facing a lot of challenges in the airline industry and Air Transat is ensuring that it will be stronger tomorrow and will remain that way for many years ahead,” he said.