Air Canada’s new Partner Program

Air Canada has introduced a new incentive program, entitled Partner Program, that targets Canada's 4,000-odd independent travel agencies.Under the terms of Partner Program, which went into effect Jan. 1, the Montreal-based airline will:- increase the availability of VAT Vouchers for use...

Air Canada has introduced a new incentive program, entitled Partner Program, that targets Canada’s 4,000-odd independent travel agencies.

Under the terms of Partner Program, which went into effect Jan. 1, the Montreal-based airline will:

- increase the availability of VAT Vouchers for use as sales incentives by travel agents.

- supply travel agents with $5 discount coupons for use in airline Duty Free shops. The agents will be able to offer the coupons to potential ticket buyers.

- run a variety of contests in which agents can win additional customer incentives as well as personal gifts.

VAT Vouchers are pre-authorized waivers used by agents, at their discretion, to change the status of a flight ticket for the benefit of a customer.

In the past, about one-third of domestic travel agencies that sell Air Canada tickets did not qualify for the vouchers.

But Isabel Fagnan, Air Canada’s director, agency sales, says Partner Program will make the vouchers available to all domestic travel agents in a formula based on sales.

Fagnan says the idea behind Partner Program is that Air Canada wants to do a ‘better job of supporting our agency partners so they can do a better job of servicing our airline customers.’

Fagnan says the program grew out of an extensive research study, conducted between August and December, in which Air Canada met about half its travel agents and held eight focus group sessions.