Norwegian Air is selling more seats through the trade, claiming agents are accounting for up to 40% of sales on some routes, such as Las Vegas and Buenos Aires.
Head of UK & Ireland sales Dominic Tucker said: “Our trade partners have been very important, especially for our new routes”, citing retailers like Flight Centre, Trailfinders and Tui, as well as online travel agents (OTAs) Opodo, Expedia and lastminute.com as good performers.
The airline is also working well with specialist operators such as Ocean Holidays and USAirtours, said Tucker, who added that more were “awakening to Norwegian”, such as Kirker Holidays.
Tucker said it is increasingly establishing relationships with smaller independents as well and said several ethnic agencies had more recently “turned Norwegian on”.
“The changes in airline distribution strategy in the last year have meant that some agents have now started offering us for sale as we don’t have a legacy-style renumeration policy,” said Tucker. “In line with the general Norwegian egalitarian view, we treat all our partners equally.”
Tucker explained that the trade has access to published fares, but preferred partners who commit to always offering Norwegian as an option to clients get access to net fare content. He said Norwegian has recently trialled an incentive programme on premium and flexible fare sales.
“We have 56 premium seats on our new 787s that are arriving, which is a lot more than before,” he said. “And we always want people to be more flexible, so we’ve been running a trial to see if agents can switch or upsell clients. We will know more about how well it has worked in September and January.”
Tuckers said it would be running more fam trips to showcase its product and service to agent partners.
It has already run fams to New York, Austin and Fort Lauderdale with representatives from Flight Centre, Acromas Holidays, Travel2, Barrhead Travel, Travel Counsellors, Kenwood Travel, Audley Travel and Bon Voyage Travel. Another, in association with Brand USA, will fly into New York and out of Boston in September while an educational to Chicago with a hotel chain partner is planned to go ahead before the end of the year.
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