Kuoni has introduced an ‘ambassador’ scheme for independent agents as part of a bid to re-engage and build trust with the wider trade.
The move follows a restructure of how Kuoni deals with agents and the appointment of Brad Bennetts in the new role of national sales manager in April.
“We have been looking at how we can develop relationships with agents and address some of the concerns agents may have about the expansion of Kuoni’s own high street network,” said Bennetts.
“We are re-engaging with consortia and looking at how we can support the trade further.”
The ambassador scheme aims to improve knowledge of agents who are not Kuoni partners and to build a network of ambassadors, initially in the southeast.
The first batch of Kuoni Ambassadors, from Baldwins Travel, spent a day at the operator’s Dorking head office this week to learn about the brand, product, new tours and ways of working together.
Bennetts added: “The idea is to get one sales consultant from each store. They will have a full day’s training on product and brand, and receive a certificate.
“By the end of it they should have an emotional link to Kuoni.”
The operator aims to train about 30 ambassadors by the end of this year and up to 80 next year.
Bennetts said the recent restructure had been well‑received. It has led to a smaller call centre at head office, with a hub service for partner agents, while Kuoni’s own agents now answer calls from other independent agents.
Some agents have even begun to establish relationships with Kuoni agents themselves as a result of the changes and the fact there is price parity across all channels, according to Bennetts. “Agents have visited local Kuoni shops and I am encouraging that,” he said.