Why Join a Travel Consortium?
- 07 Feb 2024
- David Moon
For many, the start of a new year can signify a fresh start or a change of direction to explore new professional and personal opportunities. At this time of year, that may mean New Year resolutions are now a distant memory!!
From a professional, business perspective, I want to make the case for travel consortiums and the benefits these can bring to a travel agent’s business. If you don’t belong to a consortium, I hope you’ll think about how they could help your business and if you already do belong to a consortium, I hope you are making the most of everything available.
Traditionally a consortium's sole purpose was to provide its members with commercial terms based on its collective buying power. This is still very true today, and all the research we do with our members says this is the number one reason why they are part of Advantage. A consortium should be able to offer a wide range of suppliers, tactical offers, and incentives, to help you increase your margins. At Advantage, we have 250 preferred suppliers. A consortium should be able to offer you a great choice of partners to work with.
However, consortiums have, in most instances, evolved their offering beyond the commercial terms and it's often some of the “softer” benefits that can make a huge difference to an agency’s business.
The next big reason for looking to join a consortium in my experience is marketing. Talking to agents, the challenge of retaining existing customers while attracting new customers is fundamental to their business and existence, whether you are an established business or a new start-up. However, marketing can be very time-consuming and rarely cost-effective.
Consortiums should be able to provide you with a wide range of marketing options to help support your business. For retailers, this will be both physical assets to help support your in-store activities with point-of-sale materials produced to a high professional standard and direct mail activities targeted at customer retention and acquisition. In our digital world, agents are often looking for an online offering, digital assets, and email campaigns, to help boost their customer reach and a consortium should have the tools to support you in this area. I know from our own activities in the marketing arena this can provide significant benefits and works on the same principle of collective buying to deliver often free or very affordable marketing campaigns that work!
Most consortiums have some support function to help their members navigate the challenges the industry – and the wider world – throws at us from time to time. Travel can be complex at the best of times and when you start to add in changing regulations and geo-political complexities, business challenges extend far beyond simply attracting new customers. A business support function should be able to understand your business to help it thrive and help unravel some of these complexities. One of our members told me they "considered "their Advantage Business Development Manager as another member of their team" such was the impact they had had on the member's business. A great compliment and testament as to how a consortium can support a travel business. Our preference is to deliver our support face to face which helps us really understand a member’s business.
It never ceases to amaze me how open and helpful people in travel are, even towards their fellow travel agents, who they may be competing with! Our members tell us a crucial part of being a member of Advantage is the opportunity to network with other like-minded businesses, either at regional events or at the various conferences we organise. A consortium can really play an active role in developing this sense of community and provide a platform for businesses to learn from one another.
My final point as to why you should consider joining a consortium, is about development, both business and personal development. A consortium should be able to deliver some great learning opportunities for businesses and individuals, whether it be about products and services or skills-based training like selling skills, social media or customer service skills.
So, in a nutshell, the five key reasons why you should consider belonging to a consortium are:
- Maximise earnings
- Marketing your business to new and existing customers
- Business support
- Skills development
If you would like to find out more about the membership options available at Advantage please get in touch ➡️ https://bit.ly/42NIe85
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