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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

SKYLINK WINS CONSOLIDATOR OF THE YEAR

TRAVELHotNews.com meets with SkyLink Canada to present them with the Awards of Merit Consolidator of the Year award
Lisa Raffaele

Shanaz Pithawala, product manager, SkyLink Canada; Yuvraj Datta, general manager Canada, SkyLink Canada; Walter Arbib, comm., O.M.R.I. director, SkyLink Aviation; Surjit Babra, chairman and president, SkyLink Canada; Uguette Chiasson, publisher, TRAVELHotNews.com
Yesterday afternoon TRAVELHotNews.com went to SkyLink’s Toronto headquarters to present the company with the Awards of Merit Consolidator of the Year award. Introducing the TRAVELHotNews.com team to the entire staff, SkyLink Canada showed their excitement for winning consolidator of the year with a whiteboard inscribed with the words “Thank you all.”

Surjit Babra
Accepting the award on behalf of SkyLink Canada was Surjit Babra, chairman and president, along with Yuvraj Datta, general manager Canada; and Shanaz Pithawala, product manager.

According to Babra, the company has been working hard asking travel agent feedback. Therefore, it wasn’t a complete surprise when he found out they had won the award, “we do work for them,” he said with a smile.

“We are happy [the travel community] choose us. It has reinforced that the path we choose to work for them has been the right path. Everybody has casually cut out the middle man. We’ve embraced the middle man and held value in our retail and corporate travel agents,” Babra added.

With 30 years in Canada under the company’s belt, Babra explained that SkyLink has been able to stay in the travel community’s minds because of their ability stay six months ahead of the consumer and ahead of the market.

Yuvraj Datta
Datta clarified that SkyLink’s ultimate goal when it comes to their agents is to “keep the travel agent looking intelligent in front of the customer.”

SkyLink does this, he added, by asking themselves ‘what will a customer ask an agent?’ and then giving the agent a platform for them to feel like they have the answers, or the know how to get those answers.

“In 30 seconds we give a comparison of 20 to 30 different fares to any particular destination,” Datta said.

A travel agent should be able to see what a customer sees when searching Google, but faster, he explained.

“They need speed times three,” Babra added.

A smart consumer

Especially with customers as sophisticated as they are today, Babra told TRAVELHotNews.com that the travel agent booking engine has to be simple and offer them confidence when booking a client who knows and understands so much more about any given destination.

“If you have a 13-year-old they should be able to operate our system in three minutes,” Babra quipped. “We make it that simple.”

Babra is also a strong believer that “relationships should not be computerized.”

Currently SkyLink Canada participates in several tradeshows and conducts seminars, sales calls and one-on-one meetings to keep them connected to their retail and corporate travel agents.

In 2010 and beyond…

Looking into the future, Babra said that travel agents can expect new things from SkyLink Canada, including aggressive marketing and daily updates, as well as pre-constructed marketing tools designed to help travel agents market themselves and their product to their clients.

Recognition from your peers

Nominated and voted for by their fellow travel industry peers from across Canada, SkyLink Canada was recognized for their hard work throughout the year.  The Awards of Merit 2009 are designed to highlight travel professionals who have set themselves apart from others in the industry.

Keep reading TRAVELHotNews.com to see other winners.


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