Riviera Travel is hoping to turn an uptick in agent business during the Covid downturn into a permanent feature of its sales mix.
The firm began servicing the trade again in July to reassure and support agents through the refund crisis, and now has its full trade team of six back working four days a week.
“We’ve stolen a march by getting our team out there so when volume does come back, we’re front of mind,” said Riviera channel director Stuart Milan.
Milan, who joined Riviera permanently in February, revealed that owing to his team’s efforts, Riviera was currently trading at around 30% through agents – up from a typical 18-20%.
“Over the next 12 to 18 months or so we want to aggressively grow trade to around a third of the business,” he said.
“If we can keep that momentum going, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t expand the trade team. I see trade as being a real potential win for us over 2021/22 – we want to be a trade force to be reckoned with.”
Milan said one of the benefits of bringing the team back early was to allow them all to experience Riviera’s new operating procedures so they could brief and train agents confidently.
The composition of the trade team has also been tweaked, with one of two admin roles developed into a more frontline, trade-facing role to increase engagement with agents.
Milan added Riviera was looking at an April/May fam programme next year, and potentially an agent awards scheme.
“I’ll be pushing the team on some ideas,” he said. “It’s in its infancy, but it’s definitely something I want to look at going into 2021.”