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Friday,  April 19, 2024 6:37 PM 

AmaWaterways to grow Canadian team; Sandra Gardiner promoted to director of sales

AmaWaterways to grow Canadian team; Sandra Gardiner promoted to director of sales
Sandra Gardiner is now director of sales for Canada at AmaWaterways. (Supplied)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways is expanding its sales force in Canada as the company reports a boom in sales, PAX has learned.

The restructuring will see a shift in territories as Halifax-based Sandra Gardiner, who previously oversaw Atlantic Canada, in addition to being director of national accounts, is promoted to the role of director of sales for Canada.

The promotion is well deserved – Gardiner, who has been with AmaWaterways for 14 years, has naturally, over time, assumed duties that gave her national responsibilities. 

Speaking with PAX about her new role, Gardiner said she will still focus on national accounts in Canada, but will now oversee the Canadian business development team, which is also expanding with the addition of one more representative.

“Our sales are booming in Canada,” Gardiner told PAX on Friday (Jan. 13). “We’ve had a huge increase this year in total market share – and it’s bigger in 2024. We need more boots on the ground to be able to best serve our partners.”

It’s important. After all, AmaWaterways doesn’t deal directly with consumers.

“Our business is all driven through our travel advisor partners,” Gardiner said.

Business Development Managers Neil Dudley (overseeing Eastern Canada) and Shauna Carter (in charge of Western Canada) will report to Gardiner.

A third BDM, which AmaWaterways is in the process of hiring (interviews begin today) will likely be based “somewhere in the middle" – possibly Manitoba, Gardiner said.

The move will give Ama’s sales team more autonomy in Canada – previously, the BDM team reported to the U.S. office.

“It’s now a closer-knit collaboration,” as Gardiner put it. “I’ll get to work more closely with the team here in Canada. I can make decisions with them and look at how we can grow business from our side, with our understanding of the market.”

The news comes as AmaWaterways extends its complimentary pre or post-cruise land package offer on select Europe and Egypt cruises for groups and FIT travellers in 2023.

Travel advisors can also offer this to groups reserving five or more staterooms on select 2024 sailings.

AmaWaterways’ new Colombia program is set to launch this year (details are coming in March). And the river cruise line is currently building a second ship for Egypt.

With a growing sales team in Canada, travel advisors can expect more access to their BDMs. Dudley’s territory, for instance, is now smaller, “so he will be out there more,” Gardiner explained.

And having another body (BDM), in general, means more exposure.

“I think it’s going to create better brand awareness around AmaWaterways,” Gardiner said of the restructuring. “We’re already strong. It’s going to make us stronger.”

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