One of the things that Jane Clementino is telling travel agents these days is that as WestJet follows its Vision 2022 plan to become a global airline in the next five years, its “culture of caring” won’t be changing.
In an exclusive interview with Canadian Travel Press, Clementino, the carrier’s director of agency sales, told the magazine’s executive editor, Bob Mowat, that agents need to know that while the airline’s plan “redefines us to a certain extent and puts us on a different playing field, they also need to know that what we do and how we do it is not going to change. Our whole focus on the guest experience is going to remain our number one focus.”
“We’re going to focus on what’s got us to this point,” she said. “We’re going to continue to use that same business model we have in place now, just on a broader, world stage.”
Noting that while the carrier has 4 wide-bodied aircraft in its fleet today, in the next five years, “it’s on the books for us to have anywhere between 20 and 40 wide bodies.”
“That’s important for [agents] to know. There [will be] no continent or destination that [will be] out of our scope. We’re not looking at using the same fleet that we have today, so the reach is going to be endless.”
Clementino told CTP that the airline will continue to strengthen its codeshares, revealing that in 2017:
“We will have some [fare] re-alignment that we’ll be looking at to make sure that we’re using codes from an international perspective and from a trade perspective that will be welcomed. We’re kind of setting ourselves up to look at the global expansion and then our interaction in our business with our code share partners and we’ll continue to strengthen our partnerships there and [we’ll be] doing a lot more two-way code [sharing].”
“We’re starting to look at their frequent flyer programs and having kind of reciprocity there – where you can ‘earn and burn’ on different carriers. And we continue to announce different opportunities through our code share partners.”
Yet in a world where agents are being constantly bombarded by all sorts of information, it’s only fair to ask Clementino how WestJet is going to get its message of change heard by the agency community.
“That’s a great question,” she responds. “I feel like this year is a year of transition to a certain extent. So you won’t see a lot of new fleet this year, but it is a building year. So what you’re going to be hearing a little bit more about is what we’re doing within our network – to strengthen our network; to strengthen our frequency; and to have the right schedule for the traveller.”
For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.