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5 reasons why some agents hesitate to change consortia – and why it's costing them

The travel industry spends billions of dollars every year enticing people to step outside their comfort zones and explore the world, yet those working in the business can be surprisingly cautious when it comes to trying something new.

The travel industry spends billions of dollars every year enticing people to step outside their comfort zones and explore the world, yet those working in the business can be surprisingly cautious when it comes to trying something new.

After a 35 year-career that saw him work with companies such as Thomas Cook, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Sabre, Paul Millan joined Travellers Choice in late 2023 as the award-winning group’s first Network Development Manager.

Since then, Millan has spoken to dozens of independent business owners across Australia and gained a keen insight into why some embrace the opportunity for change, while others shy away (even when they are dissatisfied with their existing consortia arrangements).

So, what are the five key factors he believes hold travel agents back from seizing a brighter future? Millan addresses the common concerns.

1. The pain factor

travellers choice consortia
Travellers Choice Network Development Manager Paul Millan (centre) with Travellers Choice members.

“Some owners think donating a kidney would be less painful than changing consortia,” Millan said.

“Every agent I speak to is time-poor and many assume that moving consortia is a painful and convoluted process that will only add to their workload.

“In reality, moving groups is far easier than most business owners realise and Travellers Choice even offers a dedicated onboarding team to make sure new members are provided with guidance and support every step of the way.”

2. Concern about how clients will react to change

travellers choice consortia
Home & Afar Travel’s Andrew Minto: When the agency joined Travellers Choice, customers were excited for the agency to become part of the consortia.

“Some agents are concerned about their ability to look after customers while they transition from one group to another, and they’re fearful they’ll encounter unforeseen problems,” Millan explained.

“I get them to speak with agency owners who have made the change because they will invariably report that not only is the transition process seamless, but it often delivers a productivity boost.

“There are several reasons. For a start, changing consortia provides an opportunity to engage with customers who will want to learn more.

“Then there’s the fact that –  at least in the case of Travellers Choice – the business gains access to cutting-edge technology that enhances staff productivity, along with an entirely new level of sales, marketing and business support (from experts AND fellow members).”

3. Fear of losing access to preferred suppliers and commissions

“A common source of anxiety for agency owners is the fear that their new group will not work with as many preferred suppliers or will have a narrower range of airfares or offer less attractive commission rates,” Millan noted.

“That’s a concern that I find easy to address because not only will agents continue to enjoy access to all their key suppliers but as a Travellers Choice member, they’ll also likely develop far closer relationships with them.

“When it comes to remuneration, they’re also going to secure access to new exclusive deals and have their commissions supplemented with the dividends that flow from being a shareholder in the company.”

4. And leaving behind relationships with fellow members

travellers choice consortia
Travellers Choice members enjoy a training day in Sydney – moving groups can be a chance to forge new friendships.

“Leaving a group doesn’t mean sacrificing existing friendships,” Millan added. “Those relationships will endure, plus you have the opportunity to create new friendships with other like-minded independent business owners.”

“Travellers Choice is renowned for its warm culture and offers numerous opportunities to forge connections with fellow members – from local, state and national gatherings to outstanding educationals and regular webinars.

“Ask our members and they’ll tell you that those relationships are good for the business as well as the soul.”

5. People are their agency’s greatest asset – not the franchise

travellers choice consortia
People are always an agency’s greatest asset: The Jamison Travel team celebrates its 30th anniversary with Travellers Choice National BDM Paula Moylan (far right).

“One of the things that surprises me the most is the number of business owners who, after many years operating within a franchise group, have more faith in the network’s brand than in their own ability as an entrepreneur,” Millan said.

“Owners should never forget that they – and the people they employ in their business – are far more valuable than any brand above the door.

“Moving consortia is an opportunity to regain confidence and control! Just be sure to do your research and choose well.

Discover more

Find out more about Travellers Choice here or contact the award-winning Travellers Choice team at admin@travellerschoice.com.au

Ready to become a member? Head straight here!

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