ADVANTAGE Travel Centres is reviewing its supplier
strategy as members are warned they can no longer “piggy back” on
others.

Speaking at Advantage’s first one-day bite-sized
conference in London, new managing director John McEwan told more
than 140 delegates Advantage will continue to come under pressure
over tiered commission as all suppliers look to cut their
distribution costs.

“The challenge is to decide who we are working with and to get
behind them. We have to demonstrate we add value.

“We have a starting point that is better than our competitors.
Over the next few months we will be looking at our supplier
strategy and tailoring it, making sure we work with people we want
to work with.”

The consortium works with 130 suppliers, although it would not
give details of the number it is looking to cut.

Marketing director Colin O’Neill said it was a “critical
time” for Advantage, as operators look at agency commissions as
part of their cost-cutting strategies.

Head of commercial Julia Lo Bue-Said warned the trade not to
underestimate the strength of the group and its ability to
influence member sales.

But she warned delegates: “Members who do not deliver or
continue to piggy back on the rest of the group – we can no
longer carry you, especially when it is to the detriment of the
majority of our members. Our Business Travel Focus Group is just
one example where members have formed a cohesive buying group
– delivering their commitments.”

Lo Bue-Said said the number of operators it works with is
important for delivery.

“Delivery is crucial – in fact it is critical if we are to
sustain current commission levels,” she added.