Travel agency consortia must be more transparent about their membership if they are to continue doing effective business with tour operators, according to Kuoni.

Kuoni sales director Manuel Mascarenhas said in an increasingly competitive and specialist market, operators need closer ties with the consortia to drive sales.

However, he argued this can only be achieved if consortia can give details on what areas their members specialise in – such as luxury or cruise – instead of merely quoting membership numbers.

Mascarenhas said: “Dealing with agents on a bigger scale doesn’t work. What I would like to see more of is the consortia profiling what their membership is and saying
that they have members which are absolutely aligned with our product and we can work together.”

Elite Travel Group general manager Nigel Ham agreed that consortia need to know more about their members in order to work more closely with tour operators, as well
as helping their members improve their own sales.

He said the consortium’s creation of the Ethos marketing group has already identified 30 luxury-specialist members, while a computer system due to be launched in the next three months will provide even more detailed breakdowns regarding which areas agencies specialise in.

He added: “By doing this we can help operators work more closely with us, and we can work better with our members.”

Kuoni also revealed it is looking to expand business through the multiples and the larger retail chains, including The Co-operative Travel Trading Group and Hays Travel.

Managing director Nick Hughes said while the operators already have commercial contracts with all of them, he is hoping to strengthen relationships.

Record net profit for Kuoni

Kuoni has also reported a record net profit of £66.4 million on turnover growth of 15.1% in its 2007 results.

The profit, a 17% increase on 2006, is the highest recorded by the group.

The growth saw the tour operator’s turnover increase from £1.9 billion to £2.3 billion for the year to December 31 2007.