Open Jaw

Agency Partners Play A Crucial Role

More Porter means more competition

Canadian travel agents often lament the lack of competition in a far-flung country where 2 major airlines control the vast majority of domestic traffic. So it’s not surprising that many are speaking out in favour of Porter’s expansion. That goes for agents in Porter’s home base in Toronto, for those in other cities where Porter flies, and for those who hope the airline comes their way in future.

“I definitely support the idea of Porter expanding,” says Laura Jackson Smith of CAA North & East Ontario in Ottawa. “Any additional option is good for our business. The more the merrier!”

Henriette Barron of Uniglobe Premier Group in Toronto is also on board. “It creates a healthier environment when there are more competitors. We see Porter as filling a gap between the two major players.”

In Western Canada, agents are speaking out about their desire for Porter service – a future possibility completely dependent on approval of the airline’s expansion plan.

“I wish Porter would expand to the Vancouver Island, mainland BC, Washington State triangle. The airlines out here sure need the competition,” says Ari Rocklin.

Saskatchewan’s Ken Percy agrees, saying, “Porter, please hurry up your business plan and come west!”

Michael Deluce, Porter’s Executive V.P. and Chief Commercial Officer, says he’s grateful for the support and envisions a long-term, positive relationship with the travel trade.

“Our agency partners play a crucial role in the growth of Porter and are key to continued development in customer acquisition and retention. Since the start of Porter, we established a true partnership with our agency community. They provided us with honest feedback that supported our growth, enabled us to adapt standards that support agency productivity (ETKT) and maintained our superior service,” he says. “Not only are they a conduit in selling Porter flights, but they are an effective communication channel, providing potential customers with information required that may be a more cost-effective and convenient option to travel.”

It’s not just the additional business that agents are responding to, Deluce says. When their clients have a great experience, it makes agents look good too.

“We often hear about how Porter’s customer service and product offerings far surpass those of the competition,” Deluce says. “There is talk of how Porter helps keep the rates of the other airlines competitive on frequently-flown routes, and that Porter’s expansion plans would allow for competitive rates on additional routes.”

Porter Escapes, the new leisure tour operation at the airline, is another opportunity for agents to earn revenue and offer their clients something new and different.

“More and more agents are using Porter Escapes. We're seeing a lot of growth. It is a nice alternative to traditional tour operators and gives customers a lot of flexibility when planning short getaways,” says Deluce.

The Porter exec acknowledges the airline is in for a fight with its expansion plans, and he welcomes the support of agents from across the country. He hopes more of them will make their views known.

“We have asked our agency partners to show any support they can, including having individual agents contact Toronto City Hall, telling them about the benefit this plan will have on their companies and jobs. We’re ready to grow and evolve, and as we do, we’ll continue to expand our agency partnerships in both Canada and the U.S.”

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