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Carlson Wagonlit to Unveil a New Brand for Agents

August 14, 2008 By: George Dooley

Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates said that it would soon be unveiling a new brand name for its more than 500 U.S.-based franchised travel agency locations. The company said that because Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates is no longer associated with Carlson or its Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) corporate travel management company, an extensive rebranding process had been initiated. The key goal was to distinguish franchisees from CWT. That strategy will culminate in an official celebration to reveal the new brand in the near future.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates is a division of Minnesota-based The Travel Franchise Group (TTFG), the largest franchiser of travel agencies in North America. TTFG is a unit of Travel Acquisitions Group, which was formed in January 2008 when travel and hospitality giant Carlson sold its Carlson Leisure Group to the management team led by Michael Batt.

“As America’s retail, franchised arm of the Carlson Wagonlit Travel brand, we will soon transform our business quite visibly through the roll-out of a new name embodying our continued and enhanced commitment to our valued clients, as well as our progressive approach toward travel,” stated Roger E. Block, president of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates. “Like any journey that offers something new and exciting, we are thrilled that we’ll be leading travel in an extraordinarily fresh direction.”

To signal the upcoming brand change, which applies solely to Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates and its franchisees in the U.S., the organization last month provided franchisees with a preliminary message to alert their clients. The full message draws heavily on the 120-year history of the current brand and it reads:

Travel Is a Journey, Discover All That’s Ahead
At Carlson Wagonlit Travel, we have been leading the way in travel for 120 years. As the direct descendant of Ask Mr. Foster, the first travel agency in North America established in 1888, our journey has taken us from a small office located across from the train station in St. Augustine, FL, to the largest franchised travel agency network in the United States with a brand known around the world.

Throughout the years, we have helped millions of travelers’ dreams come true through our knowledgeable travel experts, personal service, and valuable offers at over 500 agencies nationwide. Like any journey, there is always something new and exciting ahead, and we are thrilled to be leading travel in a new direction. As a Carlson Wagonlit Travel franchisee, we will soon be visibly transforming our business through the roll out of a new brand name that embodies our commitment to our customers and our progressive approach toward travel.

A new name in travel is on the horizon. Watch for it this summer.

Block explained that longtime clients might recall previous brand changes. In 1991, Ask Mr. Foster changed its name to Carlson Travel Network. In 1997, to reflect the merger of Carlson Travel Network with Wagonlit Travel, the franchised agencies were rechristened as Carlson Wagonlit Travel. That same year, Travel Agents International locations throughout the U.S. were merged into Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates. The new branding will be phased in gradually over the upcoming year.

“Our clients may have known us by many names, but they recognize our singular goal has always been to provide the best travel experience,” Block added. “That commitment to excellence will be renewed with our new brand.”


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