Silversea Cruises has shaken up its sales force, trying to make advice more available to agents while at the same time creating efficiencies by consolidating territories.
In the process, at least two veteran Silversea sales managers have been terminated.
The field sales operation will now consist of 10 people, Silversea said, and six area sales representatives have had states added to their previous responsibilities.
Perhaps the biggest change is a shift in resources to a team of inside consultants, who will operate from Silversea’s North American headquarters to provide support for agents.
Kristian Anderson, Silversea's vice president of sales, said the team will be based in Fort Lauderdale and will “have responsibility for supporting the ongoing development of travel agencies nationwide.”
“Our dual focus is to ensure that our travel agent partners are visited consistently throughout the year, and at the same time, have their day-to-day service requirement addressed in an efficient, seemingly instantaneous format,” he added.
Mary Jean Tully, CEO of the Cruise Professionals in Toronto, said the inside sales strategy concerned her. “There’s nothing that beats the one-on-one, face-to-face contact,” she said.
Tully said she was told the inside sales force was being expanded from four to eight people.
But she said the new Silversea management, headed by President Ellen Bettridge, was definitely pro-agent, and that new blood might bode well. “I think Silversea has needed help for a long time,” she said.
Anderson said that by increasing the number of inside-sales support staff, “we’re able to improve real-time synergy between our field sales team and our travel partners.”
Among the sales managers who were terminated were Peter Adamowich and Jill Orner.
Adamowich had been with Silversea for 11 years, and his territory ran from Key West to Vero Beach, Fla. Reached by phone, he confirmed that he had been fired but declined further comment.
Orner, the mid-Atlantic sales director, had been with Silversea at least six years. She could not be reached for comment.
Travel agents who worked with both managers said they will be missed.
“I was devastated to hear that Jill was asked to leave,” said Anne Scully, an agent at McCabe World Travel of McLean, Va.
Scully said Orner was a capable sales manager. “You would assume it has to do with economics,” she said.
Anderson said enhanced responsiveness and consistent engagement were the goals of the sales force realignment.
“As we move forward, it’s imperative that we remain dynamic and adaptable to an ever-changing industry,” he said.
Under the new structure, former area sales directors Kris Emery and Nancy Gonzales will now be regional sales directors for the Eastern and Western U.S., respectively, and Kim Guimaraes becomes director of national accounts.
John Wilson, supervisor of sales support, is on temporary assignment as acting area sales director for Florida.
Sales managers with new territories include the following:
• Cindy Litzie, who is responsible for the Southwest, including Central California and Hawaii, has added Southern California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.
• Norma Spadola, who covers New England, has added New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
• Maggie Moran-Holyn has added Ohio to her Midwest portfolio.
• Patterson Neville, who is responsible for the Southeast, has added West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.
• Karen Rich-Motis has added Northern California to her territory in the Northwest, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
• Betsy Burks has added Louisiana and Arkansas to her south-central territory, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and New Mexico. Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.