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Carrier's future looks to the trade / Q&A with Carrier's Rick Milne


Carrier’s future looks to the trade. In a Q&A with Rick Milne, Carrier’s Head of Sales, we get to the bottom of what this means for our trade partners.


How did Carrier come to the decision to become purely trade focused at head office following the move to Didsbury?

I think it’s fair to say we’ve always been trade focused but we’ve realised the potential of what we can do with a single-minded approach at head office and the office move seems the perfect time to give trade the focus it deserves.


What is the strategy for the trade going forward?

Our focus has always been quality over quantity when it comes to dealing with agents. The strategy now is to really give Raj, Georgia and Sally the necessary tools to support their agents. We operate a Preferred Partner Programme which offers a range of benefits aimed at rewarding loyalty and helping agents to generate business. This has worked really well for us and our strategy will be to continue and evolve the scheme but also to open it up to new agents who we feel would be a good fit with Carrier.


What can agents expect from Carrier in the near future?

There are so many things going on behind the scenes to improve the service we offer travel agents. We have incredible reservations staff and obviously having a totally trade focused contact centre will be fantastic because we can really start to shape the business around agents.

I feel like the biggest change will come from the marketing support we offer agents. In the past our marketing function hasn’t considered travel agents enough but that’s all changing.

We are now considering agents in every campaign and right at the start rather than being an afterthought, which is sometimes what happened in the past. They are thinking about how to generate trade demand but more importantly how to help our agents generate bookings for Carrier and acquire new mutual customers.


Do you expect more agents to begin booking with Carrier?

Definitely. I think there has been a misconception about Carrier over the years, people question our trade credentials but the figures don’t lie. 80% of our business is generated by travel agents, we have incredible long-standing relationships in the trade and now we’re about to make our head office completely trade focused. Anyone who was unsure before can’t really argue with those facts. I feel we have always had a very strong proposition for agents but it’s about to get even stronger.