The Elite Travel Group has called on the trade not to “judge” it on size as it looks to attract homeworkers for the first time.
The consortium has 49 members with more than 80 travel agency branches, which have a combined turnover in excess of £100 million.
Chairman Wayne Darrock said there were no specific recruitment targets but said Elite had been guilty of “not shouting” about the benefits of its “small but significant” consortium in the past.
The homeworking option is due to become available in the next two to three months.
Speaking at this weekend’s Elite Travel Group conference in Granada, Spain, he outlined plans to create a business model which would open the door to new homeworkers trying to get their businesses off the ground.
Traditionally, the consortium has turned down homeworkers as members because it doesn’t have a division specifically for them.
The new model would allow individual agents starting out as homeworkers to work with or for Elite members and enjoy the backing of a consortium. This could involve agents employing homeworkers or renting out desk space to them in their agencies.
Darrock said the consortium would outline options available and put interested homeworkers in touch with all members. It will be up to members how they proceed.
“I don’t know of anyone else who has this model in the industry,” he said.
The consortium is looking to increase its size overall but Darrock stressed: “It’s not the be all and end all.”
In 2016, one of Elite’s biggest members, miniple Millington Travel left Elite. New members in the last year include RB Collection and Regent Travel.
As well as free membership and shared overrides – where suppliers’ overrides are divided between the member and Elite rather than being kept by the consortium – one of the benefits of the consortium is that members can get their voice heard, said Darrock.
He said: “With Elite, our members have a voice. With the big guys they don’t have a voice; it’s more intimate. Size does not matter. For the right agent we are a fantastic offering.
“We must not be judged by the number of members. Adding value in sales is what matters.”
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