Carrier is to pilot an “out of hours” initiative to support agents outside of standard opening times.
The new service is designed to provide agents with assistance with urgent requests that can’t wait until the next working day, and will be managed by a small “out of hours team”.
The team will be available to handle requests such as holding the last few seats on a flight, or securing the last suite at a hotel to help agents confirm as many bookings as possible during this period.
“Although this is only a pilot currently, we’re hopeful this can become a viable way to offer support outside of normal working hours to our key partners,” said Carrier’s head of sales, Rick Milne.
But he added that in light of ongoing uncertainty, Carrier would be “pressing pause” on its usual roster of events, training, promotions and educationals under its Preferred Partner Programme.
Milne said Carrier would instead look to offer immediate relevant support during a key period of the pandemic.
“We will of course restart our Preferred Partner Programme, offering the usual benefits in due course, but while this is not possible, we have redeployed our budgets to focus on what is important to agents right now,” said Milne.
“Last year was a challenge for the whole travel industry, but we hope we are now in the final stages and can focus on a rebound. Our trade partners have always been at the forefront of what we do at Carrier, but now more than ever we want to ensure we are offering them the best support at this crucial time.”
One of the moves includes temporary enhanced commercial terms, with Carrier assigning its usual trade budget towards paying a guaranteed override to key agents on bookings made up until 31 March, to be paid at the end of the quarter in April rather than at the end of the year, as would usually be the case.
An additional override payment will be made in January to those agents with bookings that did manage to depart in 2020.
“Knowing that it was impossible for partners to hit their targeted overrides last year in such unprecedented times, exceptionally, we are offering to pay a guaranteed override to recognise our partners’ support in such a difficult year,” said managing director, Mark Duguid.
Carrier is also rolling out Travel Made to Order, a service with “greater flexibility and customised booking conditions, including amending or postponing at no extra charge, and a commitment to a 100% refund if the holiday is not able to go ahead”.
“We believe Travel Made to Order will help our agent partners get more bookings over the line,” said Carrier’s head of marketing, Natasha Towey.