Advantage aims to expand the business travel arm of its consortium despite the impact of the economic downturn on the sector.
Chief executive John McEwan aims to recruit between 20 and 30 new business travel agents this year and will extend its business travel services to agents in the Elite Travel Group under the recently-formed commercial alliance.
Since October Elite merged its commercial operations with Advantage, with negotiations with suppliers now all operated by the latter.
Elite members that want to move into business travel will now also be given access to the consortium’s airline deals and hotel bed stock.
Business travel sales contribute just over £1 billion in the consortium’s turnover – around 40% of total sales – compared to £2.5 billion from leisure sales.
McEwan said: “There is still a large market out there and over time I think there will be opportunities to balance revenues between business and leisure.”
He added: “Obviously business travel has been affected by the downturn but we still achieved double digit growth last year.”
But he admitted revenues in 2009 were likely to be down, particularly for large travel management companies dealing with companies in the financial sector. “Clearly we will not see the rate of growth we have been enjoying,” he said.
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