Gemma Scarff, Cunard business manager for sales planning & direct partnership, explains how the line is strengthening its commitment to the trade.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I love the diversity of the role – no two days are the same and at any given time I will be balancing a variety of different priorities.
One reward is the people we get to work with – the travel industry is home to some of the most passionate people I’ve met and that’s apparent in almost every conversation we have with our agent partners.
I couldn’t envisage myself working in any other industry and that’s probably why I’ve been in travel for more than 20 years.
How has being ‘on the road’ and meeting agents changed in recent times?
We have had to be resourceful and innovative in the way we work. We are reaching more agents on a daily basis by using technology and we are adapting to an ever-changing landscape.
What’s more, we are seeing more homeworkers than ever before, along with many who are new to travel and this is reflected in how we communicate.
Our dedicated partner engagement team continues to grow, which will increase our ability to meet with our agents, regardless of whether they are head office, home, contact centre or on the high street.
What key Cunard selling points are you focusing on when meeting agents?
We are a year away from welcoming Queen Anne into the Cunard family, so we have a regular drum beat of exciting news to share with our partners.
Cunard is a holiday with so many amazing selling points for our partners to talk about and we really have something to offer everyone.
Shine Rewards Club continues to be our one-stop shop for agent training and rewards. For every booking a partner makes they can earn points to spend on a great catalogue of different products, including Cunard Gin and even a Cunard voyage.
Do you intend to hold more sales blitz events, following on from the one in March?
Absolutely – we received a great reception from being back out on the road in March and with a team that’s growing this is something we will be doing more of, especially where we have exciting news to share.
Agents are so important to us and we want them to join the next chapter in Cunard’s story.
Why is now the right time to expand your fam trip programme?
There are many new faces in the industry who have not had the opportunity to experience a Cunard holiday in a long time, so giving them the chance to enjoy our product is key to our future success.
We had a great response to our 2022 fam trip programme, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to double the number of partners joining us on board.
How do you anticipate agent engagement changing?
We really want to immerse our agents in the Cunard product, hence we will continue to evolve how we train and engage with agents.
Our webinars are always popular and feedback from them is positive.