Shane Riley, the Virgin Voyage’s Vice President of International Sales, announced the news at The Advantage Travel Partnership’s cruise conference held aboard Valiant Lady. It follows Virgin doubling the size of the team from four to eight last year.
Riley said the move would see additional field-based staff and more account managers who would have fewer accounts to handle and thereby spend more time with agents – known as ‘first mates’ – to help them boost sales. Additionally, as well as nurturing “new talent” Virgin is hoping to bring people back into the industry who moved out of travel during the pandemic.
“We have two ships launching next year and two ships in the Mediterranean and we want to service growth and demand by engaging with agents on a more personal level,” he said.
The announcement follows the recent introduction of the LetsGoBook online platform accelerate and simplify the booking process.
The Advantage Travel Partnership has recorded a record-breaking £100m turnover for its Advantage Managed Services (AMS) division, with revenue increasing by 41% and bookings up by 13.4%.
The 2021/22 results, which also show average booking values rising by 44%, were announced during Advantages annual conference. Since being founded in 2009, the AMS model has grown to over 80 branches and is the fastest growing section of the Partnership’s membership portfolio, helping travel companies reduce back-office costs and administration and enabling agents to focus on sales and customer service.
“We are thrilled to have achieved this record result, especially on the back of what has been the most challenging period in history for the industry and our members,” said Kelly Cookes, Advantage’s Chief Commercial Officer. “It absolutely demonstrates how hard our members who operate under the AMS model have worked during the past 12 months and is a great credit to the collectively for achieving this milestone.”