Canada’s Largest Travel Management Company

Vision 2000 Travel Group

Spanning every corner of the world, modern travel is big business. With the global travel industry accounting for one in every twelve jobs, it is estimated that travelers spend $2 million per minute across the planet, and the figure is growing.

In Canada, the travel industry has created thousands of jobs and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually. Today, travel management company Vision 2000 has expanded to fifteen physical locations across Canada, along with twenty six IATA approved onsite locations at a number of large, well-known companies.

For the past thirteen years, Vision 2000 has successfully provided the highest quality, professional travel management services to a huge range of Canadian companies. After overtaking its next largest competitor approximately five years ago, the company has grown to become the largest Canadian-owned travel management business in terms of volume. “We work with companies with ten employees all the way to companies with over 25,000 employees,” says company President, Joel Ostrov. The company’s unique customer base is made up of more than 2,100 businesses.

When the company was formed on April 1, 2000, it began as a merger of five existing companies – three from Quebec and two based in Ontario – along with a number of partners. The combined team of travel industry professionals brought decades of experience into the new company. Mr. Ostrov, for example, had been operating his own successful travel company since 1977.

In time, other travel agencies were added through acquisitions and organic growth. “In the late 1990s, airlines capped commissions, and it became apparent that the only way we were going to secure preferred partnerships with carriers was to bulk-up our size,” says Mr. Ostrov. In 2006, he oversaw a highly leveraged buyout of a number of partners in the Quebec region, and in just thirteen years of operation, Vision 2000 has grown its annual volume from $135 million annually to $600 million.

It continues to gain new clients and valuable connections with airlines, hotels, car rental companies, and other key players in the travel industry. The company’s sheer size and impressive buying power enables it to work with airlines, hotel chains, and car rental companies, to negotiate better rates, answer questions, and speedily resolve issues that might arise. Approximately eighty percent of the company’s business is in the corporate sector (including meeting and event business) and twenty percent in leisure.

Its staff of approximately 550 (including independent contractors) consists of a team of skilled travel consultants – who handle day-to-day travel requests such as taking and processing reservations – and professionally-trained account managers. The account managers serve as the liaison between Vision 2000 and travel suppliers to act on the behalf of their customers.

“Every client who spends over $50,000 a year has an account manager assigned to them,” says Mr. Ostrov, “At Vision 2000, we take care of all aspects of a client’s trip, whether it be flight, car rental, accommodation, restaurants and dining requests, private chargers, show tickets, limousine service; everything from A to Z is taken care of by our team.”

In addition to personalized service, it offers a number of technology-based tools to assist with account management. Strategic Travel Management planning for new clients is the responsibility of a designated VTG Account Manager, who has experience, capabilities, and tools required for strategic planning of any client’s travel needs. Whatever initiatives a client is interested in researching or pursuing, Vision 2000 remains confident that all VTG’s clients have the resources and expertise necessary to accomplish this in a comprehensive way.

The company offers other valuable services as part of its account management solutions, including joint development of a client’s business plan, travel policy review / development, ongoing cost savings initiatives, preferred supplier negotiations, technology solutions, on-line booking program implementation, client care evaluations, workshops, seminars and information forums, and more.

To assist clients with keeping track of travel expense reporting, it uses a sophisticated system to produce a broad range of travel management reports. These reports can be available on-line or through traditional methods and are provided in French or English. The reports give clients the information needed to control travel expense activity, monitor travel policy compliance, negotiate volume discounts and provide disaster recovery assistance as well as sort expenses by traveler, department, city, category or location. For a nominal fee, it can also design custom reports that access any ticketing information stored in the company’s databases.

Recognizing the unique needs of each of its many clients, the company offers complete travel management solutions through its Vision Ware suite. Highly customizable Vision Ex – staffed by consultants who have skills and expertise in the use of airline tariffs, creative ticketing options, and the latest airline promotions – is available for clients for all international itineraries, in addition to the company’s automated systems.

Services such as Vision Access are available, through global distribution systems, to search virtually all available live databases of charter airlines and scheduled carriers and directly connect to web sites of low-cost carriers such as WestJet and Southwest. Vision Access also enables the company’s senior counsellors to research and offer access to a host of international fare programs through its wholly-owned consolidator, Vision Ex.

By applying the Vision Access module and its related components, the company is able to offer what it calls ‘Total Option Pricing’ in virtually all situations, guaranteeing the lowest fares. Existing and new airline, hotel, and car rental programs are combined into both reservation and quality control systems as part of the company’s detailed process for all clients.

Other services, such as Strategic Vision, Vision Link, Global Vision, Vision Complete, Vision-Res, Vision Intelligence, Info Vision, and Vision Ex benefit clients in a variety of ways. The services help customers: meet their business objectives on a global front; use web-based corporate travel booking tools; access, merge and integrate data; receive and organize individual travel documentation via email; utilize automated systems for all international itineraries; and crosscheck all data against specifications using quality control systems to guarantee integrity.

Vision 2000 realizes that a company is only as good as its employees, and the core of its many successful years in businesses rests upon three pillars: its people, its technology, and the company’s commitment to excellence. Clients are assured of quality each and every time.

“Senior management is very much aware of the wow factor, and that comes across in the way we appreciate and treat our employees,” says Mr. Ostrov of the company, which has a very low turnover rate of less than three percent. “It is vital to not only seek out the best talent in the travel industry, but treat staff well and make them feel appreciated.”

Continuing to expand, the company experienced growth (to year end, June 30) of about fourteen percent over the previous year. Earlier this year, the company acquired Thomas Cook’s Sunquest meeting and incentive group. “As long as we maintain positive cash flows, we can continue to make these acquisitions,” says Mr. Ostrov of the company which continually looks for small, independent agencies who want to join and operate within the group, or be acquired completely.

Vision 2000 is the Canadian shareholder agency of global travel company RADIUS and, in 2010, was granted exclusive Canadian rights from the RADIUS Board of Directors. RADIUS is a global network for corporate travel management, and consists of ninety independent, market-leading travel experts operating in eight countries serving over 3,300 locations around the world. Vision 2000 is one of only three companies to be given an exclusive right to operate in a country (the others being located in India and Singapore). In addition, Vision 2000’s COO Brian Robertson sits on the Board of Directors of RADIUS.

Additionally, Vision 2000 is a leading member of Virtuoso®, the world’s most prestigious travel network. Virtuoso affiliated travel advisors have connections with the world’s finest hotels, cruise lines, airlines and tour companies, and exclusive access to high-quality travel offers. “By being a member of Virtuoso, we are able to provide a lot of extra amenities for our customers,” states Mr. Ostrov of incentives which can include spa credit, free breakfasts, double upgrades and more. “We are one of very few Virtuoso members in Canada, and we are the largest Virtuoso member in the country.”

The company really can send you anywhere. Vision 2000 sells flights to one of the greatest vacation destinations of all time: space. As one of only a handful of Canadian companies accredited to sell flights, it are selling seats – at $200,000 a ticket – on Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Designed to take paying customers into suborbital space, it has already booked more people set to take the flight aboard SpaceShip Two than any other agency in Canada.

As the largest Canadian-owned and operated travel management company, Vision 2000 takes pride in providing a full range of business, meetings and events, incentive and leisure travel services from coast to coast to a wide spectrum of Canadian companies. The sky’s the limit, as it is targeting $1 billion in sales in the next three years.

“We see a strong need for high touch, high service, high level travel management for corporate individuals in this ever-complex world of travel,” says Mr. Ostrov. “Yes, the Internet is there, and people can spend hours shopping around for deals, but with one simple email they can have one of our counsellors researching everything for them – putting the trip together for a very nominal transaction fee – and that is what is becoming more and more attractive in the market today.”

July 16, 2018, 6:53 AM EDT

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