Travel advisors, ACTA react to Sunwing’s position on recalled commissions

Frustrated with ACV call centre wait times? “Dramatic changes” are coming

MONTREAL — Air Canada Vacations is promising big changes in terms of call centre wait times after hearing from travel agents frustrated and fed up with long hold times for call centre bookings.

“Give us until Q1 2017. That is when you are going to see dramatic changes in terms of wait times and servicing,” said George Platanitis, Vice President, Sales and Partnerships, Air Canada Vacations.

Platanitis was part of ACV’s first in-person Travel Advisory Board meeting at its Montreal headquarters. More than 20 members from across the country, representing chains, consortia and independent agencies, were on hand to provide ACV with feedback on the operations affecting travel agents’ business today.

ACV says it wants to educate the industry on the self-help tools available to agents, with an eye to streamlining the booking process and alleviating hold times on reservation lines.

Following that recommendation, ACV vowed to implement the following strategy: provide agents with frequent updates via press releases, LinkedIn and Facebook posts, ACV TIP emails and ACV&ME communication on the self-help tools available and the updates that have been made to ACV’s operations. ACV says it will also provide agents with training webinars that include tips on how to navigate its website and booking platforms.

“We have been anticipating this feedback,” said Platanitis, adding that ACV has committed to fixing the problem “and we are here to acknowledge your concerns. We know you want to book with us. We appreciate that and we want to make it easier for you.”

Several recommendations from the meeting are now under review, including: extending all res/customer care hours; extending Group hours of operation; and put together a 1-pager for agents on what they can and can’t do through booking engines.

In December ACV sent out a list of time-saving tools available to agents to complete and modify client bookings.

Agents booking with Air Canada Vacations are can reserve seat selection online through all distribution channels including ACV’s travel agent website, SIREV, Amadeus, Sabre Vacations and Galileo Vacations, instead of calling ACV’s reservations department.

ACV said agents can also quote and book their own groups to Sun destinations online or via GDS. Once they have shopped and booked their group package, agents can follow the online steps to book multiple PNRs; each PNR can hold a maximum of six passengers.

Once this process is completed, agents will be able to obtain availability and the price of the group booking, then mail ACV Groups’ department the PNR numbers at Group modifications, including name changes, or requests for other options, should also be sent to this email address, says ACV.

Agents looking for training on ACV’s time-saving tools are asked to contact their ACV area sales manager.

Also new, ACV’s B2B res line for Sun, Europe, North America and cruise product is now open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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