Kuoni intends to move its relationship with partner stores “up a gear” by treating them like its own shops.
Speaking for the first time since restructuring its call centre team, managing director Derek Jones also outlined plans to improve Kuoni’s relationship with agency consortia by appointing Brad Bennetts to the new role of national sales manager.
The company confirmed this week four staff had been made redundant at its Dorking call centre following the decision to create a service hub for partner stores and key accounts. Calls from agents will be fed to Kuoni stores. The hub will be staffed by seven Kuoni personal travel experts from May 1.
Jones described the shake-up as an investment to bring partners closer. This could see them being invited to the same events as Kuoni shop staff.
He said: “Through the hub we can deliver the best possible service to partners.
“We want to treat our partner stores as similarly as possible to our own stores. It’s not just about the service hub, we are looking at how we can integrate partners into our own conferences and events.”
He said partners would be consulted about a dedicated summit, which had been due to take place in June, but added: “I’d rather they were involved in our events.”
Kuoni is likely to make another appointment “over time” to take on the day-to-day running of the hub under new sales director Helen Roberts.
Africa Collection sales manager Bennetts, who starts on April 22, will look after non-partner stores and identify potential partners.
Jones added: “The relationship at a senior level with consortia is really important to us and has been diluted between support for partners and the rest of the trade.
“This is recognition we want to work much closer with them.”