P&O Cruises and Cunard has pledged to go “back to basics” to ensure it has “agents at the heart of everything” it does.
The lines are to reinstate fam trips for the first time in about four years and will offer more ship visits this year than ever before.
They will also revamp all agent training modules on their Academy Online trade portal and have recruited a regional team focused on developing accounts.
The team of three has been set up to support and help grow business from agents who have just started to work with the brands.
The “fundamental changes” to the way the combined sales force works comes following the biggest restructure at Carnival UK in a decade, when the team was increased by 30% to 46 people.
Alex White, Carnival UK’s sales vice-president, insisted the team had always had a “philosophy of supporting agents”, but said the resources weren’t always in place to put that into action.
“We want to be clear to the trade that this is a fundamental change to the way we work with them,” White said. “In the past we have not necessarily made decisions as quickly as we would have liked to, because of the structure we had.
“Our travel agent partners will notice a change in the service they get from us – we will be easier to do business with and will tailor our service to suit each trade partner.”
As part of the changes, the sales team will be known as the Cunard & P&O Cruises Partnership Team.
White said the new structure would help drive both brands’ prices, admitting that previously there had been more focus on filling capacity on Britannia (pictured).
And he claimed commission had not been raised as a key issue when Carnival UK liaised with agents about the new structure.
“If agents say commission is a barrier to selling us, then of course we’ll review it,” he said.
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