Advantage plans to introduce longer-term commercial deals with key tour operators and increase the ability of its agents to specialise.


Members were briefed at a meeting in London on Thursday, the first opportunity for the consortium to outline its strategy since the board decided against a merger with fellow Triton Travel Group members Worldchoice and the Global Travel Group.


Advantage hopes to hammer out long-term deals with selected operators.


Chief executive John McEwan confirmed: “Ideally, we would like three-year deals. It means you can focus on building the relationship rather than thinking about renegotiating in six months’ time.”


Key Triton deals will be unaffected, with Advantage selecting the tour operators with which it will work more closely. “We will work with Triton on core commercial terms, but we are looking to take some relationships further,” said McEwan.


The consortium also unveiled new point-of-sale material, including banners and stationery, that allow agents to highlight the areas they specialise in.


The move forms part of a strategy to differentiate Advantage members from high-street rivals by encouraging agents to become cruise, ski, luxury or destination specialists.


Groups of members selling cruise and luxury products have already been set up, offering access to better deals, marketing and training. A ski group will be launched by the end of the year.


McEwan said: “The level of segmentation will be member-driven, enabling agents to build their expertise and differentiate their proposition from typical retailers on the high street.”


He added: “We are not advocating a move away from bucket-and-spade sales, but we will build specialisms in other areas to generate increased sales.”


Up to 30% of Advantage’s £1.25 billion leisure travel turnover last year came from sales of mass-market products, compared with 40% four years ago.