Honoring Our Legacy and Heritage: TTC “We Are Family” Celebration in London
Greetings from Los Angeles. A few weeks ago, we gathered 400 of our dedicated and passionate Travel Corporation team members from across the globe in London. This gathering was focused on our 2018 Europe launch conferences, as well as our TTC Day where all of our brands come together to celebrate our shared values and outstanding 2017 achievements. During our strategy sessions, we shared our best practices and proven tactics, since we value the importance of team engagement and collaboration, while acknowledging our passion, pride and strengths.
We also reviewed together several exciting new and immersive travel experiences, including the launch of our 2018 Luxury Gold brand and Chairman’s Collection (which I will discuss in an upcoming blog post), new experiences for Contiki’s travelers more interested in independent-style trips and new destinations and offerings with Trafalgar, as well as a very innovative, first in the industry introduction of Vizeat & Eatwith dining experiences in locals’ homes – dining a la Airbnb.
The special week culminated with our TTC “We Are Family” Gala and Awards Dinner at the renowned Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum for art and design. Our stunning venue space was exquisitely decorated and the evening was filled with music, delicious cuisine, and much laughter. We are so proud to see the superb professionalism and enthusiasm of our team. To see how strong, compelling and relevant each participating brand’s new messaging is for next year and the amazing value and immersive experiences we have curated and arranged for next year’s offerings was fantastic. So, it was very fitting for us to celebrate our team and our successes in such a unique venue, on such a special evening.
It was also great to recognize our top sales executives and offices for this year. We were very proud and pleased to thank and recognize Marie Anne MacRae, who received our inaugural, annual TreadRight Foundation Award, recognizing one of our team members who has contributed above and beyond in making a difference to our efforts to help others through our non-profit’s projects and initiatives.
Celebrating Our Heritage: Trafalgar’s Milestone 70th Birthday
This was also a meaningful gathering for our TTC teammates, as we also celebrated Trafalgar’s milestone 70th birthday, by going back to our roots. London has historical significance since it is where Trafalgar began their first guided vacations in 1947 with a small group of guests, which has now expanded to six continents and several hundred destinations and superb experiences. Our company started with Trafalgar, so this brand is always very near and dear to all of our hearts.
This 1955 photo below shows our Chairman (and my father), Stanley Tollman and his brother, Dr. Arnold Tollman at the eponymous Trafalgar Square, visiting when they were vibrant, young men, “in pursuit of excellence” (our family’s motto). They were united in their vision to build a strong foundation by providing memorable and authentic experiences for our valued guests with Trafalgar evolving into an award-winning global brand. It was also fun and meaningful for my cousin Gavin (Arnold’s son) and I to record a video for our 2018 program (see video link below the ‘then and now’ photos), highlighting our father’s being in Trafalgar Square 62 years prior, and to capture a similar moment to highlight the next generation of the family’s and our company’s leaders.
A Privilege of a Lifetime: Nurturing A Family of Brands with Great Legacy
One of my father’s personal business philosophies is “to never shirk a journey” and every team member of TTC today upholds that belief – to be out there on the road meeting with, supporting and building strong relationships with one’s travel partners (WE LOVE TRAVEL AGENTS AND TRUSTED TRAVEL ADVISORS) and our customers – that’s why I travel about 250 days a year. It is also with enormous appreciation and gratitude for me to have the unparalleled support of my parents, my wife and children, my sisters and cousins, many of whom are also passionately involved in various aspects of our companies.
In addition, it has been the privilege of a lifetime to lead not only a very successful family-owned and run business, now with its fourth generation of family members, but to help guide and nurture our outstanding legacy brands and team members. Over the past several years, we have all worked very hard to ensure that our brands’ experiences, messaging and values are relevant to consumers and travelers today, and are leaders in their respective niches.
Our leading brands have great legacies and rich histories behind them and great futures ahead hopefully – including Trafalgar (70 years), Contiki (56 years), Uniworld (41 years) Insight Vacations (almost 40 years) and one of our Red Carnation Hotel Collection’s properties, the iconic, ultra-luxurious Ashford Castle (800 years and previously owned by the legendary Guinness family for 150 years). TTC’s family of brands now serves over two million guests each year, with the devoted focus and mantra of being “driven by service”. For over 100 years, it has always been our heritage to provide exceptional and consistent service and giving our guests what they want, which is at the heart of everything we do. We keep a very close eye on our guests’ comments and feedback (we proudly and transparently place Tripadvisor links on all our websites, and use FEEFO, the equivalent travel industry leader of unfiltered feedback from travelers who enjoy our holidays) and work tirelessly to address valid and constructive comments and feedback as quickly as possible – our customers constantly help make us better.
Creating a Sustainable Future with our Long-Standing Brands and Teams
Our TTC global gathering made us feel more inspired, renewed, and energized with a clear vision. The year 2018 will be full of many possibilities, with our brands truly united together and communicating our myriad of travel experiences through storytelling and inspirational content. We are very fortunate to work in this dynamic travel industry, together with our long-term and loyal travel partners and colleagues. Each day, we help to fulfill our guests’ dreams and heighten their sense of well-being and genuine happiness.
However, as we much as we continue to honour our heritage, we constantly challenge ourselves to create a sustainable business and future for our teams and ultimately, our customers while remaining relevant, nimble, and innovative in this ever-changing world. Thus, we are motivated to stay connected in a more meaningful way to our guests and their evolving needs for many generations to come. We are constantly, listening, reading, learning and adapting in this fast changing, evolving world. We are also committed to doing our part by giving back, locally and globally, to supporting those less fortunate (supporting WE Charity, the Happy Hearts Fund, The Amy Foundation and providing recovery funds for people we know in Houston and South Florida post the devastating, recent hurricanes), and trying to help protect and sustain wildlife from poaching and cruelty, to helping empower and bring more women into the workplace by supporting initiatives like the Alliance for Artisans, through our TreadRight Foundation. So much more to do though.
Thank you for supporting our legacy and continued transformation in our journey ahead.
Wishing you all the very best,