Global Travel Collection eyes EMEA partnerships and expansion

Global Travel Collection (GTC) is “engaging in strategic discussions” with potential partners in the EMEA region as it eyes growth beyond the US and the UK.

The company – part of Internova Travel Group – has a global network of 1,600 independent travel advisors as well as luxury agency brands Colletts Travel, Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group and Scotia Travel.

Managing director of GTC’s UK division, Jason Oshiokpekhai, said the brand wanted to remain North America and UK-centric but said there was scope for it to have offices farther afield.

He said: “The independent adviser model is something that can be incubated in other European countries. In the Middle East, there’s tonnes of opportunity, and Asia as well. We want to pick and choose our spots. We’re not trying to go out there and attack everywhere, but we are having some really great conversations with partners locally, understanding their business model and then [seeing] what it would look like if we were to maybe have ‘pods’ in some of these countries.”

He added: “Over the next six to 12 months, we are engaging in strategic discussions with potential partners in the EMEA region.”

GTC UK is headquartered in London, with offices in Hendon, Burnley and Glasgow. The network comprises around 100 independent advisors, including independent homeworkers, business owners with their own agencies, and so-called sub-independent contractors, who sit under principal independent advisors.

Earlier this month, GTC UK launched a new advisor success team to offer business support to agents across the company’s core three pillars of luxury leisure, corporate and entertainment travel.

GTC has taken on close to 300 advisors globally since the start of the pandemic, but Oshiokpekhai insisted he wants to “grow smartly” in the UK.

“I’m not really interested in doubling the size of our business here,” he said.

“As a matter of fact, with Francesca [Mendola, account management director] and the advisor success team, we’re going to take a deep-dive into our existing portfolio to figure out if we are the right home for some of these advisors.”

He added: “Our competitors, who we do have respect for, have a different model – they are trying to get volume.”

GTC president Angie Licea added the company has a “seven-year” business plan, with the new advisor success team forming part of a wider Path Forward programme which aims to move the company towards an “account management structure”.

Licea claimed GTC was “on par or exceeding” 2019 sales figures depending on the segment and said the company was experiencing the highest average daily rates in its history.

“Transactions are still down from 2019 as they are for most agencies but because of the average trip cost, we’ve exceeded the sales,” she said.

“We’re very optimistic on the volume holding through the year and we believe that the average trip cost will probably hold as well, which is very interesting considering the global economy and the rate of inflation.”

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