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28 Sep 2017

BY Jennifer Morris

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Leader: Ryanair issue highlights importance of good service

This week Ryanair found an unlikely ally in the form of rival airline chief Willie Walsh.

Sophie Griffiths Leader image

“It is one of those things that should never have happened, but it did,” IAG’s boss
pointed out to delegates at the World Routes conference in Barcelona on Sunday as he discussed the Irish carrier’s cancellation of 2,100 flights. “They’ll fix it; their ability to fix things is unparalleled. We’ll all learn from it.”

 

It’s a surprising show of support from a fierce competitor.

 

There has been no such understanding from the agent community, however, with agents slating Ryanair for its handling of the crisis.

 

And as our quick-fire consumer survey this week shows, the low-cost carrier could have its work cut out to convince customers to return. Commentators suggest passengers will soon be lured back by low fares, but as those members of the public we spoke to highlighted, price is increasingly being outranked by trust and customer service in their purchasing decisions.

 

That’s partly why, no doubt, Travelsphere intends to put trust and service – both for its customers and its agent partners – at the heart of its plans for growth.

 

This week, we talk to Travelsphere’s boss Alastair Campbell about the company’s bold new strategy, which seeks to improve customer service on both the B2B and B2C sides.

 

The G-Adventures-owned operator has promised not only a series of customer pledges (including the scrapping of credit card fees, price guarantees, and a returning-customer discount), but also a trade sales blitz “twice as big as any we’ve run before”.

 

Travelsphere will need the support of agents in order to achieve its ambitious target of doubling trade sales over the next 18 months – but fortunately, Travelsphere and agents have always been rather closer allies than O’Leary and Walsh.

 

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