Did you know:  Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined! 

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Posted on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The latest craze in the airline business is bidding for an upgrade.  Lots of airlines are offering this now; and the feature has turned out to be wildly popular with consumers.   Here's some advice on how to finesse the upgrade bidding systems of Air Canada and Westjet.

Their programs  are almost identical:

Ineligible tickets...

Posted on Friday, September 6, 2019

Barcelona has recently experienced an upsurge in petty theft and robbery, with tourists the main target.  Wherever you go, try not to be an easy mark for criminals by deliberately dressing less touristy.  Lose the expensive jewelry and designer clothes.  Consider minimizing your time in the more popular and busy tourist areas.  (Barcelona's La Rambla, for example.)  Seach out places locals enjoy: you'll be less likely to encounter thiefs and you'll get to have a more authentic experience than you would hanging out at the "top 10" sites in a city.

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Posted on Friday, August 23, 2019

Everyone "knows" you can't really get a business class ticket on airline points, right?

Wrong.  Clients of The Travel Group can, and do.  Here's how.

First of all, here's the back story.  Although credit card rewards programs make a convincing pitch - fly any airline, any time, anywhere - there is one important caveat.  Credit card rewards programs are based on a 1 to 2 cent per mile formula.  That's fine for economy class travel, but be prepared to dish out a million points for an international business class ticket.  That's the number...

Posted on Thursday, May 30, 2019

Travel industry friends and I walked close to 160 km from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, over four days (May 17 - 20) to raise over $10,000 for the two schools, one in Inuvik and the other in Tuktoyaktuk.   The main promoters were Air North (@flyairnorth), The Travel Group (@thetravelgroup), and our very own organization, F.I.T. (Friends in Travel YVR) which runs its own fund-raiser for Vancouver's Downtown Eastside causes every June.    

The...

Posted on Thursday, May 9, 2019

You've read the media stories about the dirtiest areas of the airplane to touch.  But, which airlines score highest for overall cleanliness?

Well, according the Skytrax, the organization that rates airlines, it is mostly Asian airlines that score highest for cleanliness.  

Air Canada scored highest for North American airlines, but it did not make the top 20 list.

Here's Skytrax Top 20 Cleanest airlines in 2018:


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Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2019

With one exception, all airline points programs have a nasty policy which could be summed up as "use 'em or lose 'em!"  Delta Skymiles is the one exception: Delta points never expire.  

Perhaps the most draconian program of all is Aeroplan, which only gives you 12 months to show "activity" or your points will be allowed to expire.  To give them credit, they normally will send you a warning email before this happens. 

"Activity" is defined in our industry as "earning or burning."  I think that's self-...

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2019

As you almost certainly know by now, Transport Canada has followed the lead of much of the world and temporarily grounded the 737Max aircraft for any flight operating in Canada or into Canada from a foreign country. This is an aircraft that both Air Canada and Westjet use on some routes.

We have reviewed all reservations that potentially could have been effected within the next three weeks; and have contacted our clients to either help make alternative arrangements or to confirm that they are not booked on a 737Max aircraft. If you have an upcoming reservation,...

Posted on Thursday, March 14, 2019

Congratulations Annie for becoming a Certified Hurtigruten Specialist!


In business since 1893, Hurtigruten operates premium exploration voyages to Norway, Greenland, Spitsbergen, Iceland, Europe, Africa, South America, Central America, Arctic Canada, and Antarctica. These are unique destinations where the natural beauty is matched only by the breathtaking beauty and stunning diversity of its wilderness, inhabitants, flora, and fauna. On all of the small ships in our fleet, you will find modern facilities and equipment designed...

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Air North and Travel Agencies Light Up Yukon in January

During the coolest, darkest days this upcoming January, Air North and its Yukon partners (Tourism Yukon, Yukon Hotels, Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, MacBride Museum, Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre, Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in, Yukon Brewing,Takhini Hot Pools, Yukon Wildlife Preserve, The Klondike Experience, KIAC, Lumel Studios, Parks Canada, the Klondike Visitors Association and Run Dawson) are teaming up...

Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ever get to the airport only to learn that your flight has been delayed 12 hours?  And you ask yourself, why couldn't the airline have phoned me?

In fact, there was an era, not that long ago - okay, it was VERY long ago! - when airlines dutifully recorded phone numbers and actually had their employees contact passengers when a flight was delayed or cancelled.  Those were the days!  (They also served free food and gave allowed  you to check two free bags up to 70 lbs each!)

The downside of the Internet where everyone can comparison-shop in seconds is that...

Posted on Thursday, July 5, 2018
AC is rewarding Altitude members, 50K+ for exceeding their target threshold levels. So, for example, if you reach 50K status in 2018, but actually earned 60,000 AQM or 60 AQS, you’ll be rewarded with a starting bonus of 2500 AQM for the following year’s program. (This bonus AQM will also be matched as Aeroplan points.) Super Elites who far exceed their 100K target will be given automatic “banked” Super Elite status for the following year, regardless of whether they re-achieve it or not.

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Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Now that we've explored several themes, let's do a case study.

Recently we interviewed Jenna Ratcliffe, Project Coordinator with Nurse Next Door Home Care Services. Here, we explore this company’s unique approach to management and growth based on creating a caring, nurturing environment for its employees.

 
Here’s David Elmy’s (DE) interview with Jenna...
Posted on Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Corporate Culture 2: The Power of Culture
 
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” Peter Drucker famously said. What he means is: if you get your employees’ attitudes and motivation aligned with your company’s values, everything else falls into place.
 
In this series, we are looking at different corporate cultures and different approaches to deliberately shape companies’ culture in ways...
Posted on Monday, July 31, 2017

The latest hotel trend is not a good one.  Major chains such as Marriott (who now own Starwood) and Hilton are imposing 48-hour cancellation policies on customers.

It wasn't that long ago that 6pm day of arrival cancellation policies were the norm.  Then, about 3 or 4 years ago, all the major hotel chains started imposing 24-hour cancel policies. Travellers accepted that change in stride, as it didn't seem too unreasonable.  Roughly the same time, hotels also started putting similar restrictions on cancelling nights during your stay: eg. insisting you must give them 1...

Posted on Friday, July 21, 2017

This is the first of an ongoing series of stories where we will explore corporate culture, particularly as it relates to travel.  We'll look at how various companies we support look after their employees and their unique policies and philosophies.  We are particularly interested, of course, in how they deal with their employees' needs when they travel.

 
One of the most memorable compliments I’ve ever received from a client about our travel agency was this: “The single...
Posted on Friday, July 7, 2017
Touring “The County” in Southern Ontario
 
When I was growing up in Southern Ontario, Prince Edward County (PEC) was a sleepy farming community with a few small villages and towns that no one had any particular reason to visit. In the past decade, however, Prince Edward County, located about 200 km east of Toronto and 200 km west of Montreal, has become a first class tourist destination, as well as a home of some very promising new wineries.
 
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Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2017

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Posted on Friday, January 6, 2017

As most frequent-flyers in Canada know, Air Canada operates a loyalty program within a loyalty program, which is known a "Altitude."  Based on actual mileage flown during the calendar year (or, alternatively, number of flights), you may be awarded Prestige 25K, Elite 35K, Elite 50K, Elite 75K, or Super Elite 100K status for the following year.  With each higher status level comes additional benefits.  For example, 35K members get access to Air Canada's Maple Leaf lounges, while members with 50K status or better are given "Gold Status" with all...

Posted on Thursday, November 24, 2016