The Travel Network Group’s proposed acquisition of The Global Travel Group has been received with “a huge amount of warmth” from members of both organisations, according to the deal’s architect.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, TTNG chief executive Gary Lewis said bringing Global into the TTNG fold was “fantastic” for Global members and “brilliant” for existing TTNG members.
“I genuinely believe it’s fantastic for Global members. We’re going to get a huge amount of support to them; to help them through the crisis and, and they are going to benefit from our scale,” he said.
“But it’s also brilliant for our existing members. Our business absolutely benefits from bringing those 285 members on board, and that we come out of this even more relevant.
Confirming that the Global brand would be retained alongside TTA and Worldchoice within The Travel Network Group, Lewis said: “In terms of Global as a group, similar to when Worldchoice came on board in 2008, they were very proud of that Worldchoice brand and Global members are very proud of being part of that Global family.
“It doesn’t matter if they sit within Global, TTA or Worldchoice, they will sit under a Global-branded proposition with the same mechanisms to make payments and structures, but they’ll get access to all the additional services like our other members do when they become a full membership proposition,” he said.
“So the Travel Network Group will negotiate the commercials; The Travel Network Group will provide the marketing and the services and all the other things that add to the value of the existing Global Travel Group proposition.
“It’s very easy. They sit under the Travel Network Group as Global but they will be represented by the Travel Network Group and will feel very much part of the Travel Network Group family but have their own unique identity within the Global proposition.”
Commenting on the benefits for TTNG members, he said: “Scale is hugely important. Clearly, the more relevant we are to specific business partners, the more important we are to them, the more they’re going to be partner to us.
“We have fantastic relationships with 170 business partners, but we can’t be important to them all. We have to be important to those business partners that want to partner properly and give our members key benefits. And therefore scale is hugely important.
“We all saw what happened when Thomas Cook failed. We saw the disruption that happened in the market. So the reality is, is we have to be growing and we have to be relevant. And the best way of doing that is by looking after each individual’s needs so that when we’re growing, we’re growing with members who absolutely want to belong to us. And that gives us relevance to our business partners.”
Lewis added: “It doesn’t matter how big we are, if our membership is not engaged. If we’re not able to demonstrate they’re engaged, we have no relevance anyway.
“Luckily, we have a fantastically-engaged membership organisation, through all the hard work and brilliance of our existing members and the work we do, but we’re really clear that our role is to represent them. So having 1,025 members and adding 285 Global members on top of that, it brings us to 1,300 and that really helps us have those conversations.”
Lewis said the acquisition would cement TTNG’s position as the largest consortium in the UK.
“If you count our branches, we’re over 1,350. If you take us on our actual members, we’re probably around the 800 mark. And the reason we count on branches is because we recognise our members with branches, we have to engage with each one of those branch managers in the same way as if you’re an individual member, to drive specific sales that are relevant to that specific shop in that specific location,” he said.
“But even if you take it on legal entities, we are still by far the biggest leisure proposition in the market. We had been already, but this just adds to that, in terms of that ability to have that conversation. Now that’s massively important to our existing members…if we’d have woken up on Friday morning, and Global Travel Group had gone somewhere else, that would not have been a great proposition for our existing members. So having the voice and being able to engage in that way right now is massively important.”
Lewis added that TTNG’s scale would be key for business partners in the current climate.
“Look at our business partners now going through the challenges of Covid-19. We’re hearing of consultations and trade teams being under threat. They’re going be really challenged on what they look like when they come out the other side of this, so being able to get to as many members as possible through one channel will be really important to them as well.”