The boss of The Travel Network Group says the consortium is “the right fit” for The Global Travel Group and there will be a “seamless transition” for members as they move across.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast following the announcement of the acquisition from dnata Travel Group last week, TTNG chief executive Gary Lewis said he believed his organisation was the only one truly in the running.

Revealing that talks over the Global business had started as soon as the Covid-19 crisis hit, Lewis said: “I think we were the only people having that proper conversation [with dnata] and the only real people that dnata would trust this with.

“We obviously have a fantastic relationship with dnata through Gold Medal and Travel 2. I think we’re their number one leisure consortium. And we’ve grown our business with them distinctly from not being the number one to being number one.

“In that time, we’ve gone from 600 members to 1,020 members over a good six to seven-year period and demonstrated continually that we keep engaging in a way that helps them drive their business and their sales – and the same goes for all of our business partners.”

He added: “I think part of dnata’s strategy was making sure that Global members were really supported, to help them drive distribution for Gold Medal and Travel 2. That’s why they were happy that this is more about making sure the Global members got to the right consortia, rather than getting the best deal for dnata.

“One of the conversations we had with them very early on was about where we thought the world was going to be in the next six to 12 months. At that stage, it was changing every hour, every day, but what was very clear was that Global Travel Group is a fantastic organisation, but it’s not core to dnata.

“I think [dnata chief executive] John Bevan would tell you that dnata is now focusing on what’s core and they needed to make sure the Global Travel Group members were considered and looked after and put into a place where their focus and call was a membership proposition – and that’s The Travel Network Group.”

Lewis said there were clear similarities between TTNG and Global.

“If you look at Global Travel Group, all the members are individual members with their own unique businesses. But they’ve got two real core propositions. You’ve either a Global member that’s on their ‘managed service’ proposition. And that’s very much like our ‘managed service’ proposition within Worldchoice Plus.

“Or you’ve got the Independent Options group, which is very much like our Worldchoice members; they’re Abta members, who are coming to Global for the commercial contracts and other services they provide.”

“We’re already running those propositions and we have a huge, in-depth knowledge of the trust account model and how to operate that, and a way of bringing synergies immediately – and we can demonstrate that through what we’ve already done.”

He added that it was important to clearly present these benefits to Global members.

“[Dnata] going to their Global members and suggesting they’re going to be selling Global Travel Group and they would go with that sale, obviously it’s an incredibly sensitive thing to be doing in the middle of a crisis, and they needed to make sure that whoever they put in front of those members had the ability to demonstrate – not words, but proof – that they can deliver a seamless transition to an organisation that’s immediately going to give them the care, thought and professionalism to help drive their businesses forward.

“We have demonstrated that to dnata through our ongoing relationship with Gold Medal over the last six, seven, eight years. And that’s, I think, why we were the only real people that they were speaking to.”