Offering a simple and streamlined approach to packaged vacations, Porter Escapes was introduced at the end of 2012, a natural complement to Porter Airlines’ service from its hub at downtown Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport. With carefully curated flight and hotel combinations – and à la carte add-ons available in some markets – Porter Escapes found a way to leverage the refined service that Porter had become known for, while completing the booking cycle for travellers who were also seeking out hotel nights.
So what do travel agents – particularly those who work with clients within Porter’s network of destinations – need to know and why should they be interested in selling the product? CT Magazine spoke with Sandra Costa, commercial manager – vacations and packaged products at Porter Escapes, for more insider info to help answer those questions. Here’s what we learned:
What sets Porter Escapes apart in the market?
According to Costa, Porter Escapes provides flights and hotels exclusively packaged with Porter Airlines for any duration in a wide range of urban and fun North American cities, starting from one-night stays (based on availability). What’s more, she points out, is that all clients receive the “flying refined” service that Porter is known for, from access to the lounge at YTZ (including complimentary WiFi, beverages and cookies) to complimentary onboard snacks, beer and wine.
The client is…
- The small business owner/manager who is travelling for work; bonus if they are interested in extending and enhancing the trip to make it a “bleisure” escape (perhaps even bringing a friend along!).
- Leisure clients looking for a getaway, whether it be for a sports event, concert or special escape such as a bachelor or bachelorette party.
- Families embarking on a vacation, whether independently or to visit family elsewhere (but prefer to stay at a hotel).
What’s the benefit of Porter Escapes for travellers?
“Porter Escapes offers access to great prices, flexible durations and flight times, and great product choices,” Costa said.
And the benefits for travel agents?
Porter Escapes provides eight per cent commission, plus its package prices are “great alternatives” to booking separate components. “We simplify the process,” Costa explained, noting that Porter Escapes is available on all GDS platforms and provides B2C access for all registered agencies.
Travel agents can make more money by…
Firstly, upsell, of course. Some of the higher-end product (such as four- and five-star luxury hotels) are usually offered at only a slightly higher price, so clients receive added value for a minimal added investment. Secondly, Costa suggested extending the duration of the trip and adding attractions to the package, with options such as ski lift tickets, golf tee times, theatre shows, museum visits, city tours and other popular outings.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Porter Escapes offers 23 destinations (eight U.S. and 15 Canadian cities).
- Travel agencies must be registered with Porter Escapes (even if they’re already registered with Porter Airlines) : https://porterescapes.com/ Agencies/Registration.
- Commission payments are made electronically.
- Earn more by adding to the packages.
- Clients can earn up to 2,800 VIPorter points per traveller on a Porter Escapes package booking.
- Commissions are earned on packages, whether booked via GDS or if an agent calls into Porter Escapes’ Travel Planners.
- Look out for incentives throughout the year.
- Porter Escapes has a dedicated team and phone number (separate from that of the airline) to assist with package inquiries. They are available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. or Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1-855-372-1100 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
WHAT’S NEW TO THE PORTER ESCAPES LINE-UP?
Porter Escapes is constantly looking for great value in the hotels it offers in all destinations. Recently, various properties in New York have been added, such as the brand new hotels Arlo Nomad and Arlo Hudson Square; and the Omni in Chicago. In Canada, travellers can look-out for Ottawa signature events to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in the Nation’s Capital, which travel agents can add to their Ottawa bookings.
Boston, Chicago (Midway), Halifax, New York (Newark), North Bay, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Quebec City, Sault Ste. Marie, St. John’s, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto (Billy Bishop), Washington (Dulles), Windsor. SEASONAL: Burlington, Mt. Tremblant, Myrtle Beach, Orlando-Melbourne, Stephenville.
Find more here: www.porterescapes.com.