Faster, more efficient technology and a wider range of competitive product will attract call centre, homeworking and web-based agents to Broadway Travel’s new consortium, according to managing director Adam Pardini.
Pardini said the new group, Broadway Travel Consortia, had set “achievable” targets with membership limited to 10-20 agencies that turnover a minimum of £4 million a year.
And he feels the right management team is now in place to run a successful consortium, having recruited former Hays Travel commercial director Jill Gardner as finance director.
Gardner will be running the consortium alongside Pardini, and be supported by the Broadway management team, including product and marketing director Jason Waldron.
They believe their joint experience can help new members to grow and develop. They will be working alongside those agents and sharing their expertise and experience in the same market.
“Sometimes, with businesses of this size within a consortium, you get to a certain level of turnover and find it difficult to grow further. We believe we can help these businesses achieve that next level of growth.” Gardner said.
“When we sat down and discussed whether we were going to set up a consortium, we said there was no point if we weren’t going to offer something different, which we believe we now have.
“There’s a whole raft of reasons why companies want to join consortia, so there’s no point going out and being the same as everyone else.”
Broadway’s relatively limited targets mean it does not plan to go out aggressively poaching members from other groups.
Pardini hopes travel agents will see the advantages of being a significant individual member of a smaller consortium, rather than one among a much larger group. Agents will pay a membership fee based on their earnings.
“It’s more personable,” he said. “We are targeting agents we know fit the mould of what we are looking to offer, where we know we can be of benefit to them.
“The current market is extremely challenging and we believe that by combining technology and a wider range of product with a focus on a defined sector, we can fill a gap in the consortia market and we have now decided to seize this opportunity.”
And for Pardini, the decision to seek Atol Accredited Body status not only offers members an important additional service but also peace of mind.
Technology will also form a large part of the Broadway consortium’s offering. Pardini said that he knew from personal experience how technology could determine travel agents’ fortunes.
Broadway has used Top Dog Travel Systems throughout its existence and has helped to hone the system so it meets the requirements of online agents, homeworkers and agents who work in call centres.
“Having used other technology platforms, in our opinion the Top Dog Travel Systems far outperforms any that we have used before.
“It’s all about the workflow and the efficiencies of the business we are in.
“Being able to have everything in front of you via an XML feed, alongside reliability, speed and being able to navigate round the system, is crucial.
“It’s about more than just technology. It’s about the availability of product, and differentiation of product, as well as the technology. They all go hand in hand.”
He added: “If you look at the middle of July when, generally, as a call centre or homeworking business you do not struggle to get the telephone to ring, it is actually a very short window in which to make money.
“So you need to be efficient, and that’s what this system delivers.
“This is a complete system with flights, beds, transfers, car hire, insurance and car parking all in front of you.”