by Peter J. Bates

Monday, November 12, 2012

Consolidation Breeds Confidence & Renewed Focus on Partnerships

As marketers, we spend a great deal of time exploring consumer-related trends – what they seek from travel experiences, what influences their purchasing decisions, and more – but it is important to take stock of our own industry trends and how these impact stakeholders in our business.

These days, it’s all about mergers and acquisitions! Recent news of the merger between Protravel and Tzell as well as Travel and Transport’s purchase of Ultramar reflects the changing business landscape of our industry. These are two examples in the U.S., but consolidation is happening in other parts of the world as well. These recent deals are a sign of confidence in the travel business, and this eventually trickles down to the benefit of the consumer.

Consolidation Yields Buying Power
After several years of tumult in the travel industry, the past 12 – 15 months have seen steady increases in business, and the money spent on recent agency acquisitions is a reflection of “the strength of travel.” Consolidation means larger agencies have greater buying power when dealing with travel suppliers – and that likely translates into better prices and enhanced value and experiences that can be delivered to consumers.

In the luxury travel sector, agency consolidation signifies a merging of “talent pools.” Travel advisors possess a breadth of knowledge and valued contacts that make them tremendous assets to their agency owners as well as their clients. This talent is the foundation of a strong and thriving agency group and is what breeds future prosperity for these mergers.