The operator partnered with Air Canada Vacations to launch Canada to the trade in June. Abra Dunsby catches up with product manager Amy Shine for an update
Why did Funway decide to launch in Canada?
Having established a strong heritage as a US specialist, launching Canada seemed a logical step in continuing to support our travel agent partners with holidays across North America. Canada has seen very strong demand in recent years and we’re excited to be a part of this growth. Partnering with Air Canada Vacations means we have access to insider knowledge, ensuring our customers are given plenty of knowledge and support.
How does the partnership with Air Canada Vacations help agents?
We have access to a completely unique product offering, with 28 escorted, rail or fly-drive packages, and the ability to tailor-make itineraries – offering everything from tickets to the Calgary Stampede to ski packages in Banff. We also offer multi-destination holidays combining the US, Mexico and the Caribbean with Canada, plus with Air Canada servicing 60 routes throughout the country from four UK departure points, there are so many options for clients.
What are the USPs of selling Canada holidays with Funway?
More and more travellers are looking to secure their holidays further in advance, and because of that demand we’re able to quote and book out-of-date range packages that include accommodation, air fares and excursions. Thanks to our partnership, we have a huge inventory at market-leading prices that means we’re usually able to quote where availability is traditionally limited; we still have access to 2018 touring, for example.
What training did staff have to go through?
We’ve had ongoing product training sessions with Air Canada Vacations, as well as support from Destination Canada and each of the province representatives. Our reservations teams have completed the Canada Specialist online training programme and are planned to attend fam trips over the coming months.
Where in Canada is selling well?
The majority of customers are requesting variations on the route through the Rockies from Calgary to Vancouver. With two major cosmopolitan cities at either end and spectacular mountainous scenery en route, it’s the obvious choice for first-time visitors. The Rocky Mountaineer train ride allows for luxurious travel and a bucket-list experience, or a self-drive caters for the more free-spirited. Our wildlife experiences are also becoming firm favourites, with opportunities to get up close and personal with the grizzly bears at Farewell Harbour Lodge, kayak with whales, or enjoy polar bear spotting from the comfort of a tundra buggy.
Are there any other Canada booking trends you’re noticing?
Ski packages to Canada are proving very popular and unbelievable value for money thanks to guaranteed snow, included lift passes, good accommodation and transfers – and some of the best slopes in the world.
What is Canada’s one to watch for next year?
The Maritime areas [Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island] – think rich heritage, stunning national parks and fresh seafood. The natives are incredibly friendly and driving is easy too.
What’s your favourite trip from the Canada programme?
The new Yukon River Canoe Classic package, where clients canoe down the river before pitching up their tent and sharing stories around the campfire. The promise of escaping the rat race and getting back to nature is something that I find really appealing.