New commercial manager at Midcounties’ Travel arm

Harriet Desai joins the society from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and completes the new commercial team at the division

The Travel division of Midcounties Co-operative has announced the appointment of Harriet Desai as commercial manager.

Her appointment completes the five-strong commercial team led by Mark Mitchell, who joined as head of product and commercial in July 2019. 

Ms Desai will be based at Midcounties’ regional head office in Walsall. The team she has joined works across the commercial and product function for the entire Travel division, which includes the retail brand – Co-operative Travel, the consortium brand – Co-op Travel Consortium, and the homeworking brand – The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel.

She previously worked at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, where she held several roles including key account manager, which saw her managing a revenue turnover in excess of £22m; Symphony executive, during which she delivered the successful launch of cruise ship Symphony of the Seas; and as the regional sales manager for London and the south.

She has also held managerial roles with First Choice and TUI/Thomson.      

“I am delighted to have joined the team at Midcounties Co-operative and look forward to an exciting 2020,” said Ms Desai. “Alongside fellow commercial manager, Ben Lovett, I will be negotiating commercial deals which deliver the best return for the business and ensuring robust contracts are in place and operate effectively. I will work closely with Mark Mitchell, head of commercial, and Katie Blunt, brand and marketing manager for the Travel group, on the commercial strategy and product mix, negotiating and securing funding to ensure marketing plans can be executed efficiently and effectively.”

“Harriet’s experience, knowledge and drive make her the perfect fit for the team and we are hugely excited to have her onboard,” said Mark Mitchell, head of product and commercial for Midcounties’ Travel division. “I now have four excellent colleagues on the commercial team and together we will take the Travel division from strength to strength.”

He added: “The team’s focus for 2020 is to develop our existing commercial partnership opportunities even further by conducting detailed travel category reviews to identify any potential product overlap or gaps, as well as exploring potential new travel sectors such as DMCs to work with our three trading divisions of retail, consortium and personal travel agents.”

Also on the team is commercial and communications assistant Sarah Bagley and commercial support and communications coordinator Stephanie Smith.

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