LeGrow's Travel Inc. began with a single storefront, called LeGrow's Travel, in 1949. Since then, we've become the largest independent travel agency in Canada. Today, our retail operations consist of 110 locations from coast to coast with 18 locations branded LeGrow's Travel in Newfoundland and Labrador, several branded Voyages LeGrow's in Quebec and Northern New Brunswick and the remainder branded LeGrow's Travel right across the country. Combined, our retail operations generate annual sales of over $300 million and employ over 450 people.
On May 16, 2002, we changed our name from LeGrow's Marlin Travel to LeGrow's Travel. When we originally affiliated with Marlin Travel in 1986 to provide our customers with a national network, we gained the ability to use the "Marlin" name within Atlantic Canada. This affiliation served us well for many years. However, with our acquisition of The Bay Travel in 2002, now LeGrow's Travel @ the Bay giving us locations nationwide, we no longer needed this affiliation to meet customers' needs across Canada. LeGrow's Travel better reflects who we are - a LeGrow's-owned and headquartered company with a truly national reach.
In December 2009, the company hired 36 senior travel counsellors who had been with BCAA travel prior to BCAA closing its travel operations. Between 2009 and 2013, there were numerous acquisitions in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, including ATCO Tavel in the fall of 2010.
LeGrow's Travel Inc. is also committed to staying one step ahead of our competition in the ever-changing travel industry. We believe that good people are particularly critical to our ongoing success. Hiring the best staff and providing them with attractive compensation packages and benefits has helped us to build and maintain a highly educated and experienced team of experts. In fact, many of our staff have been with us for over 10 years. LeGrow's Travel Inc. also provides extensive training programs for all our staff, and we continuously invest in leading-edge technology to stay competitive. Many of the technology solutions we have incorporated have had a significant impact on all aspects of our service, from operational efficiencies in the retail shops to innovative solutions for our business travelers, like online booking tools.
Recognized for its leadership and employee satisfaction, LeGrow's Travel Inc. was named as one of the 50 Best Companies to Work for in Canada for 3 consecutive years by Globe and Mail's Report on Business Magazine and one of the Top 100 Companies to work for by MacLean's Magazine for two consecutive years. LeGrow's Travel has been recognized as one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies for 15 consecutive years, achieving platinum status the past nine years.
LeGrow's Travel Inc. is a fully integrated travel company specializing in all aspects of travel, including developing, packaging, marketing, and distributing travel products and services... click on Who We Are to learn more about LeGrow's Travel Inc.
Operating since 1999, LeGrow's Travel Air Charters offers a convenient, often cost-efficient charter service for our clients. This gives our clients -- with two or more persons traveling -- significant opportunities to save money and time, all with the added freedom of flying on their own schedule.
Launched in 1999, Discount Air serves as an internal consolidator for our retail network, sourcing international fares that are far more competitive than scheduled fares. This means huge savings for our customers. Sourcing and negotiating the availability of attractive fares is the greatest challenge faced by most agents. By providing an in-house service with fares online, LeGrow's Travel Inc.'s retail operations enjoy a significant competitive advantage.
Business Travel Management
LeGrow's Travel Inc.'s Business Travel Management operations offer business travel services and products to companies of all sizes. Operating under the LeGrow's and LeGrow's brands, we service over 25 per cent of all business travel accounts in Atlantic Canada. Our leading-edge e-commerce Travel Smart Suite of products and "Confirmed" Business Travel Program are two of the many exclusive services we offer our customers.
Atlantic Cruise Ship Services began as a small ground-handling company, servicing cruise ships arriving at Cape Breton Island. Today, Atlantic Cruise Ship Services has expanded its service throughout Atlantic Canada, providing ground-handling services for companies such as Holland America and Princess Cruises, among others.
LeGrow's Travel Conventions
LeGrow's Travel purchased Convention Connections, now known as LeGrow's Travel Conventions, as part of the acquisition of Atlantic American Express operations in November of 2005. This division has been in business for ten years, coordinating inbound convention services for organizations around the world. The services include negotiating and managing hotel room blocks as well as coordinating flights and event planning.
Meetings and Incentives
LeGrow's Travel Meetings & Incentives provides organizations with professional consulting and coordination of meetings, conventions and incentive programs. Companies face continuous operational challenges, such as building and maintaining moral, keeping staff turnover down and motivating their teams, all of which can be addressed with a well-planned and executed incentive program. The LeGrow's Meetings & Incentives team has broad expertise in developing meetings and incentive programs, from delivering client incentive trips hosted by our own president to developing incentives that can be driven or serviced from our regional branch network.
LeGrow's Travel Inc. operates 110 retail locations across the country, under the brands, LeGrow's Travel, LeGrow's Travel, Airline Reservation Center, and LeGrow's Travel at The Bay. Our retail operations offer vacation travel services and products through all three distribution channels: travel agencies, a national call center and Internet sites. Our size and market share have allowed us to develop exclusive products and services, such as our LeGrow's Travel Insurance and Exclusive Payment Options.
Launched in 1999, Holiday Escapes (formerly LeGrow's Holidays) continues to expand its programs and destinations. Holiday Escapes has made considerable investments in software that allows our agents to book online while giving our branch network access to products that sometimes are exclusive, yet always the best price for our customers.