LATAM Airlines has introduced a new UK sales team at WTM this year as it looks to improve its partnerships and business in the market.
Martin Modarelli is now leading a London-based team as commercial director UK & Nordics for the South American carriers , which is made of Brazil’s TAM Airlines and Chile-based LAN.
Speaking to Travel Daily, Modarelli said his appointment and subsequent additional team members is crucial to the airlines’ growth in the UK with a total of 20 people based here handling sales and servicing.
“Travel agents and tour operators had been frustrated with previously contacting our Madrid office and now this can all be handled straight from London,” he explained. “I strongly believe that the sales team here is a huge asset for us and it’s important to introduce them to all our potential partners.”
While the airline will be looking for co-operative marketing campaigns with tourist boards and tour operators, several initiatives will also be aimed at travel agents and call centre staff. This will include events and fam trips on top of an e-learning programme that has already launched with OTT.
Its education will not only cover its own product either, but the entire tourism offering to the domestic network it offers.
“The biggest need with the trade is to educate them more about what is available in South America. The region is often seen as a once-in-a-lifetime destination that you visit in your 50s but I think as an industry we need to build the knowledge that there is product for all age ranges and for different period lengths,” he said.
Modarelli is hopeful that with his new team in place and partners willing to team up the airline can increase its UK passenger count by double-digit figures next year and beyond, although there are more Brits travelling on its flights already.
Awareness of the airline will also improve on 31 March when TAM joins LAN as an oneworld member.
LATAM is also a Boeing 787 Dreamliner customer, with the first of 33 joining the fleet next year to operate on flights from Madrid to Santiago. Around a third of LATAM’s UK traffic goes via Madrid.