Advantage Travel Partnership said its leisure agent members would benefit from more ‘unique’ product and a wider range of content after it became a majority shareholder of Worldwide Independent Travel Network (Win).
According to managing director Julia Lo Bue-Said, the consortium’s members would stand out from other travel agents with the addition of Win’s global reach through its destination management company.
Win’s network includes direct hotel contracts, currently only available to its business travel agents, in 70 countries.
Lo Bue-Said said it would help agents find unique product to package into bespoke holidays.
“We saw an opportunity to take the current model that Win offers business travel agents and use the global reach to drive relevant product for leisure travel,” said Lo Bue-Said.
Advantage owned 25% of Win, but upped its stake to 95% last week to become the controlling shareholder. Win already supplied Advantage with corporate hotel programmes and networking opportunities, but the consortium’s board felt it would have a greater influence if it acquired more of Win.
Win has working relationships with 6,000 affiliated global offices and a 28,000-strong corporate hotel programme.
Lo Bue-Said added: “I want us to be a UK-centric business focused on members, but one that can learn from the outside. We can’t do that by keeping our attention only on the UK market. Exploring a different way of doing things and driving unique content will single our members out.
“They can now buy product that is not mainstream. We haven’t bought a tour operator, we’ve bought a structure and network.”
Members’ turnover is currently split evenly between leisure and business travel, and much of Win’s business already goes through UK agents.
Through Win, Advantage has had meetings with American counterpart Signature Travel, a leisure-only consortium, which shows the “huge potential” of the latest customer relationship management technology, added Lo Bue-Said
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