British Airways to 're-energise' trade strategy

by Selling Travel Editorial

British Airways is stepping up its focus on agent partnerships and improving its call centre support after acknowledging a “gap” in its trade relationships in the past.

Head of Sales Mark Muren said the airline would be communicating with partners in a more “authentic, approachable and humble” way going forward.

“Our trade partners make us who we are and these partnerships will be at the core of the recovery. We haven’t been around 100 years because of,” he said at a briefing with trade media this week.

“We know that we will always need to have great partners, whether that’s leisure agents or business travel agents or corporate customers, and we will be approaching these partnerships with more energy and enthusiasm.”

Muren, who joined the airline in November 2019 from United Airlines, said there would be two pillars to BA’s re-energised trade strategy.

The first will be a robust and intuitive self-service portal where agents will find the majority of information and will be able to do most of what they need to do.

This will be backed up with an equally robust contact centre, he said, admitting that this has probably been under emphasised in the past.

“We see an opportunity to super-charge the way we go to market,” he added.

He said BA would have a “smaller, leaner” sales team but this would be a “better sales team” using more efficient digital ways of working.

Leisure travel will be a focus in the short term, with BA ready to respond quickly to changes in travel restrictions.

“The bottom line is we want to fly to destinations as soon as we legally can and as long as we can do it safely and in a commercially responsible way,” he said.

Agent fam trips and other trade incentives will also resume once travel restarts, he added.

Meanwhile, BA will introduce four new short-haul routes from the beginning of July. The flights will operate from Heathrow to Wroclaw (WRO) and Gdansk (GDN) in Poland, Riga (RIX) in Latvia and Cluj-Napoca (CLJ) in Romania.

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