June 15, 2024

Advantage confident of growth despite external pressures

Advantage Travel Partnership, the consortium of business and leisure travel agents, is reporting “exceptional growth” despite external macro pressures, its CEO told delegates at the group’s 2024 conference in Cancun, Mexico.

Julia Lo Bue-Said told the conference audience that high interest rates, energy and food poverty are impacts for all major economies.

“This year we are also set to witness a remarkable milestone in political history when over four billion people – more than half of the world’s population across more than 40 countries – will go to the polls, creating in itself heightened geo-political unrest,” she added.

“As the world becomes increasingly complex to navigate, our vision as a voice of authority remains to reinforce the travel agent role, and to help consumers make sense of the consumer protection landscape, which to this day is entwined in a sea of complex and multifaceted regulatory tangle.”

Advantage members now generate more than £15.6 billion in global sales annually – £7.6 billion coming from its UK membership.

“With footprint expansion being one of our key strategic pillars, we will continue to grow our footprint both in the UK and globally through our partner network,” she said.

“As a result of our growing membership, over the past 12 months we have added a further £108 million of new sales to the turnover of the group.”

Lo Bue-Said said the group has a “laser focused and ambitious recruitment plan” and is confident over the next 12 months it will deliver “yet another significant rise to our buying power, whilst continuing to engage and nurture our existing members”.

This year, Advantage will be “refreshing” its company values and looking at its brand positioning for the future.

“This far-reaching exercise entails reaching out to all our key stakeholders for their input on how they see our brand and the findings of the research will help us shape the way we position Advantage as a brand, moving forwards,” she said.

On the business travel side, Advantage has appointed a new  Managing Director Global Business Travel, Andrea Caulfield-Smith, who told conference delegates she would be putting together a new strategy and vision in the coming weeks.

She talked through a few of the group’s visions for global business travel, including “driving insight through data to deliver enhanced efficiency and value member and partner programmes” and “horizon scanning for changes that matter”.

 Advantage also announced it was joining forces with its US agency partner, Hickory Global Partners, to create a joint accommodation programme Global Stays – The Accommodation Network.

Global Stays will become effective for the 2025 hotel programme and offer more than 60,000 properties worldwide and over 1 million serviced apartments.

“This joint venture brings Hickory and Advantage closer together and further strengthens our relationship, providing a perfect platform to deliver significantly more hotels and apartment content for our collective membership,” she said.

advantagemembers.com; hickoryglobalpartners.com