Midcounties to launch an agency consortium

Midcounties to launch an agency consortium

The Midcounties Co-operative is to launch a travel agent consortium which it hopes will generate a combined turnover of £100 million.

The ‘managed service’ consortium, to launch at the end of April, will enable agents to trade under Midcounties’ Abta numbers.

It will offer Atol protection, operating with principal status, and take responsibility for all tour operator payments and merchant acquiring, in the same way as Freedom Travel Group and Hays Travel Independence Group operate.

Alistair Rowland, group general manager of travel services, said about 30 agencies, with turnovers of up to £10 million, would be targeted within two years.

“We are in discussions with a number of agents,” he said. “It’s about quality not quantity.”

The consortium hopes to attract members by operating transparently and not “skimming” commission to boost revenue.

Rowland added: “We want to make this the most transparent consortium in the market. We want consortium members to drive the business and they will have input into how the business operates.”

The move comes as Midcounties reveals plans to set up a co‑operative buying group similar to the disbanded Co-operative Travel Trading Group. So far Chelmsford Star Co-operative Society and Channel Islands Co-operative Society have signed up.

Rowland said Midcounties would continue to be a member of Advantage Travel Centres, which it joins next week.

The buying arm, headed by Julie Gibson, has already concluded its own terms with all “volume players”.

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