If you’re a travel agent, chances are you’ve heard about travel agent consortiums. If you haven’t, don’t worry, we’re going to break it down for you! Once you know all the information, you can decide if joining a travel consortium is the right move for you and your career. Read on:
What is a travel consortium?
A travel agency consortium (plural: travel agency consortia) is a group of travel agencies, host agencies, travel advisors, travel consultants, and other individuals and organizations in the travel industry. The goal of a travel consortium is to create relationships between travel agencies, vendors, and other relevant entities. This increases the commissions that each individual involved in the consortia is able to make, as well as provides more benefits for each agent.
How does it work?
Many travel consortia will require its members to meet certain sales requirements before they are able to join. There is also typically a membership fee, as well as membership dues you will have to pay once you have joined.
After you join, the consortium will provide you with training and resources. They may also provide you with networking connections that may be more difficult to come by as an independent travel agent. These important resources are why travel consortiums require a fee. It’s basically like a club that members pay to join, but once you’re in, there are some great perks!
The pros and cons of joining a travel consortium
Travel consortia are typically founded by veterans in the travel agent industry. If you’re just starting out as a travel agent, joining a travel consortium can help show you the ropes and teach you everything you need to know to be an excellent travel agent or advisor. Lots of travel consortia will also provide you with industry training, courses, and certification to further your career as a travel agent. Typically, many travel consortia will also provide you with technology help, such as give you a hosted agent website and social media management assistance. Many consortia will also provide marketing assistance to help you promote yourself as a travel agent or consultant.
Like we mentioned before, another benefit of joining a consortium is being able to make higher commissions. Because a consortium is a group of travel agents and hosts, it is usually able to negotiate a larger commission from its partners and vendors. When the consortium makes a higher commission, you will make a higher commission as well.
We also mentioned this briefly, but joining a consortium can also provide you with connections within the travel industry it may be harder to make on your own. Connections with suppliers, partners, and other travel agents and hosts can teach you more about the industry and how to be successful in this field.
Although there are clearly many benefits to joining a consortium, there are also some reasons you may prefer to be independent instead. Firstly, travel consortiums do not provide you with an accreditation number. In case you don’t know, an accreditation number is a series of digits assigned to travel agents and consultants so that their business is recognized as an official travel agency. You will need your accreditation number to book trips, accommodation, and other services for your clients. In order to obtain one, you have to meet certain requirements and go through a process that travel consortia will not help you with.
Travel consortia also do not provide support for day-to-day things such as keeping track of your commissions, helping you with your daily reports, and other daily tasks.
What are some examples of a travel consortium?
If you decide that joining a consortium is the best move for you and your career, the next step is to pick which consortium to join. There are many well-known travel consortia throughout the world. See the below travel consortium list for consortia that are popular in the U.S and Canada.:
- Signature Travel Network
- Travel Leaders Network (and its affiliate Vacation.com)
- Ensemble Travel Group If you are based in the U.K., you may have heard of the popular travel consortia Advantage Travel Partnership or Elite Travel Group.
Another popular travel consortia is Virtuoso, which is based in the U.S., China, and Australia.
How do I choose a consortium to join?
With so many to choose from, it might be overwhelming! Here is a checklist of topics to consider when choosing which consortium is the best fit for you:
- What is the membership fee?
- Are there membership dues? How much are they?
- What is the sales threshold I have to make before joining?
- Does it provide training and resources?
- What technology does it provide? (Hosted websites, assistance with social media, etc.)
- Do they help me with marketing to better advertise my services?
Armed with your new knowledge of travel consortia, we hope you are better able to decide if joining one is the right move for you, or if you would rather remain independent. Congratulations on starting your travel agent journey!