The Travel Network Group’s planned acquisition of Global Travel Group “makes sense” and could “drive economies of scale”, according to a former independent agency consortium boss.

But ex-Advantage Travel Partnership chief John McEwan said there were “alternatives” for any members not happy with the deal.

He said Global’s “hybrid model”, which combines agencies that are “truly independent, standing on their own two feet” with those that are “more dependent and rely heavily on payment systems”, could be “easily accommodated” by TTNG as it operates a “similar model”.

“They are quite suited,” he said. “If this acquisition is done well, it would make sense.”

The deal, which would see Global’s 200-plus members become part of TTNG, joining its network of more than 1,000 retail and homeworking travel agency members, is due to be finalised in the coming weeks.

Global will remain a separate entity within the group, alongside existing TTNG divisions the Travel Trust Association, Worldchoice and Independent Travel Experts.

McEwan said he expected TTNG to “drive economies of scale” over time. “They might keep both brands,” he said. “But this is a sizeable number of members and gives TTNG more scale to look at marketing, supplier relationships, web services and operational issues [as one].”

McEwan said he saw “no disadvantages” for Global members, but said agents would vote with their feet. “Advantage is recruiting and Not Just Travel is expanding and has taken on Cherie Richards who was well-respected [as commercial director] at Global,” he said. “Members will either be very happy with the move or consider other opportunities.”

Gary Lewis, chief executive of The Travel Network Group, said: “Our longstanding partnership with dnata and Gold Medal is one of the key reasons why we have put together this proposition. One of our core strategies is to have scale in the market.”

John Bevan, chief executive of dnata Travel Group, added: “It seemed appropriate that we gave strategic direction for Global Travel Group to be supported by owners whose focus is solely around their membership proposition. We’re confident the many friends we have within Global will continue to thrive with The Travel Network Group.”

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