Funway’s new head of sales has laid out an ambitious strategy to increase sales through new and existing agents.

Audrey Brooks-Wiggins said there was “huge potential” to raise the operator’s profile through fam trips and training evenings.

Brooks-Wiggins, who was previously Thomas Cook head of trade partnerships and has 28 years’ trade experience, is reviewing Funway’s current trade relationships. She is looking at ways to work more closely with existing and new agent partners, launch more joint marketing promotions and fill any distribution gaps.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, she said: “I have already contacted head offices of consortia and agency groups. We will look at what propositions are on the table, develop them and work closely with head offices on joint strategies and identifying more members and marketing opportunities.

“There is huge potential to work with new and more partners.”

By the end of December, Funway will this year have run 26 fam trips to its key destinations – the US, Mexico and the Caribbean – and has five more set to depart after the 2018 peak booking period.

The operator started nationwide agent training evenings with new partner AMResorts last week.

“These are fun but educational evenings with about 30 agents at each,” said Brooks-Wiggins.

“It’s about being front of mind and having that profile and joined‑up approach.”

Brooks-Wiggins will also be tasked with developing the operator’s Club 500 for agents who deliver sales of between £250,000-£500,000 per year and receive target-driven bonuses. Sales through the club’s agents are up 15% so far this year.

Since her appointment in mid-August, there has been a jobs shake-up at the operator, with the departure of national sales manager Andy Travis and business development manager Amy Drummond.

Funway is recruiting to fill Drummond’s role but Brooks-Wiggins said the company was using Travis’s departure to “take stock” and consider the best use of future resources, rather than looking for a direct replacement.

Funway reports 10% upturn in US bookings after ‘slow year’

Sales to the US are starting to show signs of recovery, according to Funway.

The pound’s weakness against the dollar has hampered sales to the US across the trade.

But Funway’s US forward bookings are up 10%, according to new head of sales Audrey Brooks-Wiggins.

“We are just starting to see the US come back,” she said. “It has been slower as a whole this year due to the exchange rate.”

The operator’s other key region, the Caribbean and Mexico, has also been impacted by recent hurricanes, but sales are up 59% for 2018.

“We were trading well before the hurricane and since then we have seen a downturn,” she said. “It’s been challenging but we are
optimistic that the US, Caribbean and Mexico are coming back.”