Recently launched, the Velvet Collection brings TTC brands including Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Luxury Gold, Insight Vacations, Adventure World Travel and Red Carnation Hotels under the one umbrella.
Uniworld President and CEO, Ellen Bettridge, said The Travel Corporation has used the coronavirus downtime to review its sales teams and the accounts they serviced to streamline the way the travel juggernaut works with its trade partners.
“It’s an opportunity for us to open the doors and have new conversations with people and to drive more business for both them and for us,” Bettridge said.
Leading the new division in Australia is Insight Vacations’ stalwart of 20 years, David Farrar, in his new capacity as Head of Sales for The Velvet Collection. Speaking exclusively with LATTE, Farrar said the new “hybrid” role builds on his prior position as Head of Sales at Insight, but expanding it to encompass Uniworld.
The Velvet Collection name will only be used within the trade, avoiding confusion for clients with the TTC’s other brands.
Farrar said that traditionally The Travel Corporation has sales teams for particular brands, but the pandemic has seen the company “go back to the drawing board” and develop a united focus across high-end products over the past eight to 10 weeks.
“In hindsight it’s something we could have considered some time ago,” Farrar said.
The pandemic has seen some TTC roles consolidated since March, but Farrar now has an even bigger team under The Velvet Collection than the best years at Insight Vacations over the past two decades. His workforce now includes nine sales managers, two senior account managers and, currently, one inside sales position – a role that is likely to be expanded in the future.
The focus of The Velvet Collection is to ensure those brands have professional sales coverage for agents and consumers spread across the country. In some areas that includes multiple sales managers, which wasn’t a possibility for the individual brands.
“We actually have a better structure that an individual brand can have on its own. I think this will give us great coverage around Australia. The sales managers are learning new brands and we’ve structured a steady product education training program to ensure they’re up to speed.”
Each Velvet Collection member also has their own “buddy” across the brands who they can go to when specialised support is required.
Farrar said all the brands have synergies and have always worked together in the past when needed, “but now there is a necessity to do it”.
Already, sales staff who are back on the road are seeing results.
“Those staff going out are opening up new doors now, rather than waiting for another sales manager to do it for them. It’s just easier for the team to now provide a complete end-to-end premium solution for their partner.”