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On Location at MLT University 2012September 24, 2012 By: Meagan Drillinger
Travel Agent was on location this weekend attending the 2012 MLT University, a weekend of educational seminars along with a trade show bringing together MLT's travel agents and industry partners. This year's conference brought in almost 3,000 agents and industry partners, up almost 500 more people from last year, which shows a rising interest in what the company has to offer, which is excellent news considering that MLT put forth major restructuring plans earlier in 2012.
We sat down with new president John Caldwell to get the scoop on what has been going on with the tour operator since its major transition to new leadership earlier this year.
MLT, a subsidiary of Delta, appointed Caldwell to the new role back in April and since than has been working toward relocating a bulk of the company to be down near Delta headquarters in Atlanta. "We want to move business to Atlanta to be aligned with our parent company, but to also remain independent serving our other airline brands. By moving to Atlanta there was an opportunity to lower some costs through using some buildings and technology that Delta has available. Delta can also provide support for technology and finance," says Caldwell. The divisions making the move will be executive management, marketing, distribution, finance and human resources.
Caldwell assures travel agents that the transition will be seamless in terms of customer service. To make the transition as smooth as possible, the team has decided to leave its 300 reservations agents at their home base in Minot, North Dakota. Similarly, the product development team will move into a virtual environment. The IT team will remain in Minneapolis. These measures have been taken to ensure that agents will not experience bumps in the road as the company looks to relocate.
MLT will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta. The official move to Atlanta will begin during the fourth quarter of this year and will be complete by June 2013.
Under the new team, MLT plans to create an agency advisory board of about 10 to 15 people, which will represent a cross section of people to help the company understand what the people want, whether it's products, commission structure or any other policies. MLT also has plans to roll out a survey, which will allow them to assess what it is agencies are looking for.
"This is going to be a very careful transition so that there is no interruption in service or products, which we know is something our partners were concerned about," says Caldwell. "They are not going to feel this at all."