ADVANTAGE Travel Centres is to form a separate consortium within the group to give business travel agents increased buying power.
Advantage already has commercial deals with carriers including United Airlines, SAS, Lufthansa and KLM. But the new consortium, called Focus 2000, will negotiate better terms on existing deals and create links with new suppliers.
Business travel development manager Norman Gage said 80 out of Advantage’s 220 business travel agent members have voted for the new consortium.
He said: “Advantage business travel members such as P&OTravel and The Travel Company are strong enough to negotiate their own deals -Êthey don’t need to join Focus 2000. But for many other members the group will be of great benefit.
“As individuals, some of our agents currently have no deals with suppliers, while others may be getting good deals today but are worried about being able to secure the same deals in the future.
“We want to put into practice a long-term strategy where airlines feel comfortable about entering into long-term relationships.”
Gage and Advantage business travel panel chairman Ron Marks have been working on a case outlining the benefits of joining the group.
“Agents who join will have to fulfil certain criteria such as providing regular sales information which can be presented to airlines to strengthen Advantage’s buying power,” added Gage.
The business travel panel will discuss Focus 2000 at its next meeting on Wednesday. Advantage is currently negotiating deals with British Midland and is also believed to be talking to Go.
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