At Air Canada, customer engagement has been and continues to be one of the key corporate priorities, says Duncan Bureau, VP of global sales. And that’s true whether the customer is a traveler or a travel agent.
“Wherever you are in the organization, the customer is at the center of the business decisions and processes the team develops. The investment we have made in new equipment, our expanded network and customer service training are all a testament to that focus,” Bureau told Travel Market Report. “We are building a truly customer centric organization; it’s an evolution of the efforts we have already implemented that creates the kind of momentum the market is seeing,” he said. “The customer will continue to be at the heart of everything we do. Everything.”
And that focus holds true for travel agents as well, Bureau said. “Our approach with travel agents is simple – we view them as our partners who are an integral part of the airline’s success. Ongoing recognition of their importance as partners to our business is something the team tries to do every single day with every business decision we make; for example, continuously evaluating what they bring to the table and how they are rewarded.”
Air Canada views travel agencies and travel professionals as an extension of the Air Canada team and its brand ambassadors, Bureau said. “For the long term, the only thing I would expect to see is for the relationship with our partners to evolve and become even more open, transparent and dynamic.
In an industry as complex as aviation, “every participant in the distribution chain has to continue to demonstrate value and contribute positively to margins,” Bureau said. Agencies have to make themselves invaluable partners just as Air Canada and its fellow airlines must “continue to refine and re-define their respective value proposition. The agents who can best navigate the changing landscape and respond to those changing market pressures are really the ones who will be best positioned to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.”