Lee Hayhurst previews the agent consortium’s annual event which gets underway today at La Manga Club, Spain

Global unveils discounted rates for business support

The Global Travel Group has partnered with the Federation of Small Businesses to offer discounted membership to agents looking for advice on how to run their businesses.

The federation is like a Citizens Advice Bureau for businesses. It can help with HR, legal, tax, and health and safety issues, and can lobby on behalf of members.

Global has joined as a corporate member and has negotiated a special deal for members to join.

The tie-up is due to be announced on the first day of this year’s Global overseas conference in La Manga, Spain.

Andy Stark, Global managing director, said: “This is something our members are asking us for and, while we have internal departments, members run their own businesses and you have to be careful what advice you offer independent businesses.

“The Federation of Small Businesses is independent and the guys we met from there were really helpful from a business support perspective and really interested in supporting our members. We have negotiated a favourable, discounted membership rate for our agents.

“What we are looking to do is provide business services to members, not just create a travel agency network, and we are keen to use our membership growth to get them a better deal.”

The Federation of Small Businesses’ discounted subscription for Global members varies depending on size of business.

Stark said consortium members were constantly asking for advice because many could not afford to hire their own legal executives.

The federation, which claims to be the biggest business group in the UK, provides a 24-hour legal advice service as well as online resources for companies.

Choice of Spain followed good Dubai feedback

The decision to hold this year’s Global Travel Group conference in Spain was taken based on positive feedback from agents and suppliers after last year’s event in Dubai.

Global had held its annual event in the UK for six years consecutively prior to 2016, but had the opportunity to go to Dubai due to its parent dnata, part of the Emirates group.

Stark said feedback from members and partners was that they would like another overseas event and to travel for no more than eight hours.

“We looked at various locations and La Manga came up as a really good option. Spain is the best-selling destination for Brits and [the host venue] has been really welcoming,” he said.

Stark said Global was increasingly being approached by experienced travel professionals about joining the group, which currently has 350 members.

In the past year, 33 new members have joined the consortium, 17 of which will be at the conference.

Agents to share the secrets of social

Three of Global’s agents will share their tips on how to sell on social media in a session run in partnership with Travel Weekly.

Bordessa Holidays, Honeymoon Dreams and Footprint Travel will explain how they strike the right tone on social platforms such as Facebook to convert customers.

Social media expert Bruce Martin, founder of digital agency Ginger Juice, will also offer his insights about how agents like those in the Global consortium can exploit social media.

The session will be moderated by Lee Hayhurst, head of news at Travel Weekly and editor of Travolution, the group’s digital travel online publication.

When: May 21-24
Where: La Manga Club Resort, Spain
Who: 146 agents and 50 suppliers are due to attend
Guest speaker: TV presenter and singer Jane McDonald
Sessions: Will focus on window displays, industry regulations and marketing to millennials
Gala dinner: Global’s famed event will feature awards, prizes and the usual top‑drawer entertainment