Global Travel and Lifestyle News Network

RETAIL ROUND-UP: In praise of partnerships

It’s all about partnerships in this week’s round-up of news from the world of retail travel, with dispatches from The Travel Agent Next Door, Ensemble, Virtuoso and


The Travel Agent Next Door has been awarded Outstanding Host Agency Partner for 2022 by TTC Tour Brands’ Insight & Luxury Gold in Canada. While the US has had this award for some years, it is the first of its kind from TTC Tour Brands in Canada.

“TTAND has an extremely involved, committed and responsive team which made them such a joy to work with in 2022,” said Jenni Berg, National Accounts Director, TTC Tour Brands. “Their marketing and communication strategy is so well laid out that their travel agents really have all the tools they need. Their agents are committed to achieving their sales goals. Their unique model and vision make us excited about our continued partnership with TTAND.”

TTAND’s Flemming Friisdahl expressed pride in receiving the award. “Insight and Luxury Gold are great partners for our agents and we look forward to continuing to grow sales,” he said.


Meanwhile, in recognition of its full re-branding following its acquisition by Navigatr Group, Ensemble was awarded TTC Tour Brands’ 2022 partner award for “Outstanding in Innovation” (banner photo).

“We are so happy to recognize Ensemble with this first award of its kind from TTC for ‘Outstanding in Innovation,’” said Jenni Berg, National Accounts Director, TTC Tour Brands. “As a long-lasting, strong partner, Ensemble stood out in this category for many reasons including the full re-branding of Ensemble in 2022 following the acquisition by Navigatr Group. We are excited to be working with Ensemble as they continue to evolve and innovate.”

“It is truly gratifying to receive this recognition from one of Ensemble’s key partners,” said Ensemble president Michael Johnson. “We have been working really hard over the past several months to both listen to what our partners need and want and to create programs that address their priorities so that we can all grow and increase bookings and revenues.”

Among the many new innovations has launched over the past months include new branding, series of new annual events; new print and digital publications including Range and Range Best featuring ideas and preferred partner offerings and promotions; new hotel and marketing programs, and a new FAM program – Further Your World. Ensemble has also focused on growing its team with several appointments across various disciplines including operations, partner and member solutions, technology, and marketing.

Ensemble’s Franca Iuele; Shahla Lalani, Navigatr Group; Jenni Berg, TTC Brands; Michael Johnson, President of Ensemble; and Jenn Kotacka and Annabelle Seow, Ensemble


Crystal has been accepted into Virtuoso’s exclusive portfolio of travel partners, comprising over 2,300 preferred suppliers in 100 countries.

Crystal’s inclusion in Virtuoso will present new sales and marketing opportunities to the network’s more than 21,000 travel advisors and their high-end clientele. Virtuoso agencies worldwide sell an average of US$28–$32 billion annually.

“As a leader in the affluent travel category, Virtuoso is an ideal partner for Crystal as we look towards our return to service later this summer,” said A&K Travel Group CEO Cristina Levis. “The reputation Virtuoso member agencies have for outstanding dedication to their clients is a perfect fit with our own bespoke approach to service, and we… look forward to a long-term relationship.”

“With Crystal’s new ownership in place, we are confident that our relationship will only grow stronger,” said Virtuoso Sr. VP of Sales & Partnerships Cory Hagopian. “We look forward to being an integral part of Crystal’s relaunch strategy as they bring back the world-class experiences and offerings that loyal Crystal enthusiasts – from our advisors to their clients – know and love about the brand.”

Crystal Serenity’s inaugural sailing will depart July 31, 2023, from Marseille for a Mediterranean cruise, and Crystal Symphony will depart on Sept. 1, 2023, from Athens. Planned voyages will travel throughout the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. has announced a new sports partnership with Alpine Canada as a Premier Partner and to serve as its Official Travel Agency. The multi-year partnership will have support Canada’s national ski team and their travel needs. Additionally, will play a prominent role with Canada’s Nations Cup winning ski cross team and will be involved in future World Cup ski cross races in Canada.

Alpine Canada is the national governing body for ski racing in Canada, responsible for selecting and managing the national team, supporting coaches from grassroots to elite level, and competing at international events like the Winter Olympics and World Cup races..

“We are thrilled to partner with such a fantastic organization dedicated to the advancement of Canadians,” says Frank DeMarinis, CEO of H.I.S.-Red Label Vacations Inc. “Preparing for a highly competitive sport like ski racing takes tremendous effort and our extensive portfolio of elite sports teams positions us perfectly to provide a seamless travel experience for the athletes and team members of Alpine Canada. Our mutual commitment to innovation and growth makes this partnership a natural fit, and we’re excited about the opportunities it presents.”

First published at Travel Industry Today

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