Advantage review of preferred suppliers will offer clarity

Advantage review of preferred suppliers will offer clarity

Advantage is to implement a new sales policy over the coming months with the aim of "tightening up" the suppliers it works with and providing clarity for members.

Leisure director Julia Lo Bue-Said said the new policy was designed to make it clear for agents which suppliers they should be working with.

This will be communicated through marketing materials, newsletters and the Advantage Gateway – a product system developed with Multicom to give members a bookable web presence.

The strategy will also include a review of the suppliers the consortium works with.

"Members are saying 'tell us what you want us to do'. Agents realise they need to change," Lo Bue-Said told Travel Weekly. "The challenge is cascading that down to staff.

"There has to be a major review of the suppliers we work with on Gateway. We're working towards offering a seamless proposition.

"It's not just about commission, it's about customer service levels and direct discounting."

She said the policy was being phased in over the coming months and would be fully in place by January.

Speaking at the consortium’s annual conference in Malaga, Lo Bue-Said repeated her call for members to work only with preferred suppliers.

"Every time you sell outside our preferred supplier policy, it's a step towards unsustainability.

"We need to be united and show we can work cohesively even though we are 400 separate businesses."

She criticised cruise lines which have slashed agent commission and warned members they must have a plan in place for any further cuts.

Advantage removed Norwegian Cruise Line as a preferred supplier when it reduced commission to 10% in October, accusing it of playing follow-my-leader after rivals reduced payments.

"We do not have a commercial relationship with Norwegian. It's not that we have not understood Norwegian's commission proposition, it's because it's not right for our business.

"If everyone followed, what would it mean for your business?"


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