Travel agency consortium TTA/Worldchoice today announced a new parent company name and branding to reflect its increasingly diverse membership and a moves to instil more collaborative approach.
Managing director Simon Hargreaves unveiled the new name and logo on the first day of the merged consortium’s first joint overseas conference at the PortAventura theme park in Salou, Spain.
The group will from now on be known as The Travel Network Group, with the strapline ‘Championing the Independent Travel Market’.
Hargreaves Likened the travel network concept to the way cars are produced by various factories supplying components for the finished product which is then sold by a retail arm or franchise.
He said there was a tendency for some organisations in travel to believe they are responsible alone for the product that is sold to the consumer when in fact multiple parties are involved.
“A lot of us get into the habit of thinking we are responsible on our own for winning the consumer. I do not think that’s true. We, between us have to do this. It is our job to produce that network. We will be recognised as a group, we are a network and we are in travel,” he said.
Hargreaves said the group is poised to start working on a new lead generation membership model under which it will work more closely with members prepared to support particular campaigns.
This, he said, could result in members who buy into the scheme and who go on to sell large volumes under these campaigns to benefit by getting discounted or even free membership.
“Members who want to move with us, we should somehow reward that. In the future there will be members who power the future for us and we will have free membership,” Hargreaves said.
Earlier, group operation director Gary Lewis explained to delegates, including over 200 agents, how the membership of the consortium was diversifying. It currently has 800 members.
As well as adding homeworking division Independent Travel Experts in September, the consortium has launched two franchise models of membership in the luxury and the disabled holidays sectors.
Lewis said an officially recognised franchise model has the advantage of being able to attract financial backing from banks. The model has been worked on by the consortium for the last year.
To support the traditional TTA and Worldchoice membership schemes, the consortium has also added Worldchoice Plus, a centrally managed option for agents that wanted to cut down the costs of running their businesses, that now has 30 members and will grow by 10 a year.
Lewis said these different membership options were helping to retain members and also to attract new entrants.
“We should celebrate our differences,” he said, “they make us stronger going forward. The differences actually breed strength and breadth of market from tour operators to high street agents. We were not clashing two separate brands together, we were expanding as one organisation.”