The customer is king. Some may be treated as queens (better than kings). Messengers play a crucial role in delivering information to them; they may even enrich the original message. There is nothing new to that story.
Kings and Queens
Many airlines have programs in place to recognize their most valued customers. Those are the kings and queens who frequently generate good revenue. Most airlines have programs in place to reward the travel agency that enabled the transaction. Agencies are not the airlines’ customer; they are messengers that add value.
Selecting the Messengers
Some years ago, when working as an airline Country Manager, I cut the number of travel agency agreements in half and refocused the sales team on the kings, the queens and the most valuable travel agencies. Revenue grew 20% while sales costs were cut across the board. The messengers were not killed; some agencies just didn’t add value to our company.
Outside the Box
Brainstorming is a good thing. Except if ‘lessons learned’ and ‘best practices’ are ignored. Then the risk of triggering unintended consequences increase. Optimizing sales channels, as my example suggests, can come from someone who has seen the movie before: The out-of-the-box thinking is provided by someone with expertise.
Inside the Box
Bringing in an expert, whether it concerns the airline industry or any international business for that matter, is taking best practices from inside a box of expertise. Using and adapting expertise to specific market conditions and corporate objectives, is another example of ‘everybody doing the same things differently’.