NADIA IACOVELLI, VOYAGES ENCORE
BASED IN: MONTREAL, QC
YEARS AS A TRAVEL ADVISOR: 20 YEARS
What are a few of your selling strategies for VIA Rail product?
- We work with a lot of corporate clients, who represent a lot of repeat business with VIA Rail.
- We offer Business Class as an attractive option, because of meals included and access to speedy WiFi – the latter of which especially appeals to corporate clients, so they can work while travelling.
- We focus on the value of VIA Rail, such as that it is convenient and cost-effective.
CRISTIE NEWELL, ENSEMBLE TRAVEL GROUP
BASED IN: LONDON, ON
Tell us about Ensemble’s relationship with VIA Rail.
VIA Rail is a great alternative to driving or air travel, for both business and leisure travellers. It also offers travel advisors the ability to focus on travel within Canada, which is becoming increasingly popular.
What advice would you give to travel advisors who live in markets VIA serves?
Advisors should first experience the product. They will right away see the comfort and convenience. VIA has made big strides over the past few years in the service, quality and selection of meals; the comfort of the seats; and technology (WiFi, onboard entertainment, the mobile app). Additionally, consumers need to also know that booking VIA with a travel advisor is an option, so share your experiences on social media and other platforms. Advisors should be marketing rail travel to corporate clients as an alternative to air travel or shorter distance commuting.
As a VIA Rail traveller yourself, what do you enjoy about the service?
I love taking the train! I live in London and frequently use VIA to get into Toronto. I like that I can take an early train in the morning, have a full day of meetings, and then get back on at the end of the day. I am not wasting time in the car or getting stressed out navigating the busy highway, or playing the stop and go game in the heavy traffic. Nor am I dealing with the hustle and bustle of airport security! Instead, my travel time is productive. I arrive feeling fresh, and although ready to start my day, I already have a feeling of accomplishment having spent two-plus hours working. I love that the WiFi is complimentary and not complicated to access. The selection of food for purchase in Economy is very good but the service in VIA1 is outstanding! The meals are delicious, good quality and always a selection. Lunch and dinner are three courses with hot towel service and wine. You can request a special dietary meal in advance and after your three-course lunch or dinner, you are offered coffee, tea or an after-dinner liqueur.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A TOP VIA AGENT
Want to be a top VIA agent? VIA’s Jillian Fisher recommends the following strategies:
- Become registered to sell VIA through the official travel agent portal on viarail.ca.
- Experience VIA services for yourself! Many of the best travel advisors are also customers.
- Understand that VIA offers excellent options for both corporate and leisure travellers.
- Reach out to VIA when you need help. The trade support desk and sales team are always happy to assist.
- Actively promote rail travel as a comfortable, convenient and sustainable option to your clients.