Profits of Advantage managed service agents have increased by 17% in the last year.

The consortium is stepping up its recruitment drive for agents to become Advantage managed service branches as a way to free up their time spent on paperwork and accounting to focus on selling holidays.

A sales manager has been taken on full-time to recruit existing Advantage members and agents from outside the consortium to join the scheme, which launched in 2009.

Currently, there are 11 Advantage managed service (AMS). It is hoped there will be 50 within a year and 100 within three years.

In the last year, AMS agents have seen turnover increase by 21% and profits rise by 17%. Almost all bookings by AMS agents, 98%, come from Advantage’s 150 preferred suppliers.

David Moon, head of business development at Advantage, said: “This growth has come from members working smarter. They are using the [extra] time to unlock the value in their businesses.”

Moon claimed that an agency with a £1.5 million turnover could effectively save £6,000 a year – in terms of what the time saved by being part of AMS could be worth to the business. “The savings you make could translate into thousands of pounds of profit,” he said.

He added: “There is no reason that business life will get any easier in the year to come. Many banks continue to feel travel is higher risk and this is putting pressure on agents trying to manage overdraft facilities.”

During the conference, three agents gave testimonials on why they had switched over to AMS and the benefits of doing so.  John Lombari, director of Abbot Travel, said: “AMS has given me confidence to focus on the frontline of my business.”

Advantage charges a percentage of the retailer’s gross turnover and in return takes over the retailer’s back-office administration and accounting, such as supplier payments, Abta and Atol bonding, and access to credit card payment facilities.  Client monies are held in a trust account and commissions are paid monthly to agents.