Challenging The Status Quo


In travel, as is true in life, relationships are everything. Whether it’s in your dealings with a customer or the rapport that you have with your business colleagues and partners, that relationship is the foundation for failure or success.

About a month ago, Air Canada approached Canadian Travel Press and offered us an exclusive opportunity to sit down with its newly re-imagined Canada Sales Team and meet the people who will be responsible for building those successful relationships.

Relationships that, to all intents and purposes, will be critical to the airline’s ability to achieve the rather ambitious sales goals that it has set itself as it charts a course that will see it transformed into a “global powerhouse.”

In this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, executive editor, Bob Mowat sits down with Virgilio Russi, senior director sales – Canada for Air Canada and gets the inside story on the new Canada Sales team.

And Russi is certainly a happy man these days which shouldn’t surprise anyone considering he’s spent the last six months pretty much on his own as he carefully hand-picked the six directors who will be guiding the Canada sales team under his direction.

“I think it’s a fantastic team, not only because of their individual skills and experience and personalities, but just how they fit together and how they complement each other,” Russi told CTP. “They have very different skill sets, very different personalities and I think they just work incredibly well together. They are responsible for each one of their areas, but they all have cross-functional roles as well and they really support each other.”

But Russi is quick to point out that this team – both in terms of personnel and responsibilities – is different. “All these jobs are new… the jobs, the roles are different from what they used to be. It’s a big change,” he explained.

To begin with, while the Canada sales team – which has only officially been together since the beginning of 2015 – continues to be responsible for Air Canada’s point-of-sale relationships with travel agencies in this country, it has become clear that some of those travel retailers have a global reach and as a result, Russi’s team is now responsible for managing those relationships on a global basis.

It’s a big job, but Russi is clearly confident that the people that he’s picked to do it, will get that job done.

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.