Rachel Healey, sales manager of A&K, said: “I am keen to change agent perception of who we are and what we do. While we can provide elements such as private jets and penthouse suites, private guides and helicopter transfers, we can also arrange very affordable travel with all the look and feel of the traditional A&K brand.”
Healey said she had nominated specialist destination consultants within the operator to look after trade partners. “We want to ensure our mutual clients receive the very best end-to-end service and experience,” she added.
A&K has just struck a deal with The Travel Network Group to focus on working more closely with its members. Healey said that as being on Aito’s membership panel, she was also “keen to forge closer ties” with agents there and focus more on Advantage’s luxury connoisseur members too.
A series of agent dinners with key suppliers are to be set up for 2017 in London, the north-west and Scotland.
“We hope [the dinners] will help forge new relationships with agents who may not be aware of our product range,” said Healey.
Educationals are also being planned for 2017.
Promoting how A&K can offer a wide range of full-service city breaks is also essential, added Healey.
She said other key product focuses would be A&K’s Small Group Journeys – a selection of escorted journeys, some expert-led, for groups of 12-18 people – and Cruise & Touring, combining high-end cruise with pre- and post-cruise land touring.
“We’re looking to work with a few specialists in the first instance who will be our focus group and then we’ll look to grow this business via our own dedicated cruise consultant, Emma Browne,” Healey said.
Just launched is the A&K Villas brochure, with 65% more product and Croatia, Mykonos and Biarritz debuting. Villa rentals have grown 48% over the past two years, said Andrew Gallagher, general manager A&K Villas, adding: “There has been particular growth among families and groups of friends celebrating notable birthdays or anniversaries.”
Also new from next year will be use of the A&K Pre-Arrival Concierge, available free to guests booking a villa.