The new president for the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) has highlighted “mutual respect” between agents and ‘principals’ as a key focus for his two-year tenure.
Alan Glen, a director at Glen Travel, took up his role at the SPAA’s AGM last night.
“Everybody in the room, members and associates alike, is here for one reason, and that is that they want to do business together…there are many, many great partnerships within the SPAA.”
Glen continued: “While many might see the role of the SPAA as protecting the interests of agents – I really view the job of the SPAA as promoting harmony between both sides.
“We are a conduit – a conductor of information between agent and principal. We don’t necessarily have to agree on everything, but we do need to communicate, and if a decision is made that damages or destroys the harmony, then ultimately the partnership will be affected and probably so will the business between the two.”
Citing recent incidents, such as the crashing of the Russian jet in Egypt last Friday, Glen said there are “bigger matters to consider”, describing the SPAA as harmonious in general.
“Sometimes we’ll get a problem like the Lufthansa plans waiting to upset the apple cart,” he said.
“We had a meeting with them where our members got to get their point of view across and there was no fighting,” he said.
“Lufthansa left and we had said each other’s piece and we had explained how it would affect business. “
He continued: “There are always big issues affecting the travel industry, the list is endless.
“They often come like a bolt out of the blue so it’s about being prepared for that and keeping channels of communication open is vital. Often problems can be avoided by simply communicating first.
Glen said at the AGM that the SPAA has seen a resurgence in recent years.
“Where there is trouble in the industry, you will find the SPAA at the frontline, compiling submissions and giving our opinions on behalf of our members,” he said.
“It’s very important - whether in Holyrood or Westminster - that our voices are heard when they need to be. That is a major role for SPAA and is set to continue.
“But like any good business, we are not going to rest on our laurels.
“We recognise the need for change and we have recently started a ‘root and branch’ exercise where we are going to look at everything that we do, how we do it and why we do it.
“I know that there is a huge amount of tradition in the SPAA and realise that we have to cherish that, but this industry, technology and the world is changing at a frightening pace.
“We, as an association, need to be up to that challenge.”
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