July 25, 2024

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Navigating Travel Wonders

INTERVIEW: Brian Robertson looks back – and forward – as Direct Travel goes from strength to strength

Travelweek: Vision Travel joined forces with U.S.-based Direct Travel in 2017 – and later that year, got even bigger with a merger with ATPI. It’s a long way from Rogers Travel. What lessons did you learn at Rogers Travel that have stayed with you and guided your business decisions, no matter how big the company gets?

Robertson: “Rogers Travel was a family-owned travel agency when I joined them in the 1980s. They had a mix of experienced travel agents who could do everything, including international airfare construction. It was a very collaborative culture with great people. This has been something that I’ve always understood was a key to success: a strong culture. When we merged with Roos Travel as part of the process of creating Vision 2000 Travel Group, Vision was a collection of some of the brightest minds in retail travel and we embraced this. Our partners were entrepreneurial, and we had a common goal to collectively grow the business with a collaborative culture and great people.

“In joining Direct Travel, we found a travel management company with like-minded goals and cultures. Our CEO, Ed Adams, has always said we’re looking for great companies with great clients and people. Our Direct Travel mission statement, ‘Whatever It Takes’, epitomizes one company’s robust approach to business. At Direct ATPI Global Travel, people come first to create an exceptional experience.”

INTERVIEW: Brian Robertson looks back - and forward - as Direct Travel goes from strength to strength

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

 

Travelweek: What can you tell us about the Vision Travel / Direct Travel footprint in Canada in 2023, and what sort of growth are you prioritizing for the near future?

Robertson: “The Direct Travel footprint in Canada in 2023 is solid. We are transitioning our Vision Travel and other leisure travel brands to Direct Travel, Personalized Experiences. Our leisure, corporate and meetings travel sales and revenues have returned to pre-pandemic levels with double-digit growth.

“Our leisure business is surpassing 2019 numbers with pent-up demand and advanced sales. Direct Travel launched ASCENT to provide a stable home for ITAs and hosted travel agencies to thrive. We are not in the spotlight for our hosting program, but I’m OK with this.  The best of the best ITAs tend to find us and we embrace them and support their growth.

“We have successfully won new corporate and meetings clients as businesses return to in-person meetings and events. We will continue to pursue acquisitions of the best travel companies in Canada.”

Direct Travel’s website is The site for Direct Travel, Personalized Experiences is Watch for more interviews and memories in Travelweek Daily and on Travelweek.ca throughout 2023, marking Travelweek’s 50th anniversary. Plus, try your luck with our Travelweek Daily contest, ‘It Happened This Week’, featuring a new headline (and a new chance to win!) every Wednesday from Travelweek’s 50 years of travel industry news coverage.

 

INTERVIEW: Brian Robertson looks back - and forward - as Direct Travel goes from strength to strength

Visegrad, Hungary

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