At a meeting of the world’s leading UNIGLOBE member agencies inBuenos Aires
last weekend, U. Gary Charlwood, chairman and founder of UNIGLOBE Travel International, announced that 2009 was a growth year for the travel franchise organization. “Despite dire news stories that dominated much of the travel industry in 2009, there were economies that weathered the global recession and offered new market opportunities," said Charlwood.
Speaking to the Chairman’s Circle of UNIGLOBE’s top performing travel management companies (TMCs), Charlwood credited his organization’s growth to three key strategies:
* Focus on the small to mid-size enterprise segment of the business travel market
* Growth in emerging economies including India, the Middle East and Asia
* The success of the Global Partner program
“The continued success of the GP program, together with the recovery we expect in the travel industry, leads us to be optimistic about the outlook for 2010,” added Charlwood.
Since 2008, 18 new Global Partner countries have signed on with UNIGLOBE. In the fourth quarter of 2009, significant new travel management companies in Turkey, Sweden, Russia and Australia became UNIGLOBE Global Partner TMCs. Two more signings are expected by the end of the year. The GP program is open to top performing agencies in any country that is not presently covered by a Master Franchise and introduces Uniglobe Travel International to new business markets.
In another sign of confidence in the sector, UNIGLOBE recently broke from its traditional policy of not owning travel agencies and acquired two in California through its subsidiary, UNIGLOBE USA. Charlwood indicated that more acquisitions are being sought. “Although there are increasing signs of recovery we cannot know what the world economy is going to do, or if there will be a market correction; but if history repeats itself, we can look forward to a period of prolonged recovery and prosperity,” he said. “In the meantime, we are putting our money where our mouth is.”
The Chairmans’ Circle is an annual retreat of top-performing UNIGLOBE TMCs from around the world, by invitation. UNIGLOBE TMCs from the U.S., Canada, the UK, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Singapore, Jordan and Pakistan attended to discuss industry trends, multi-national account collaboration, and business strategy development. The Chairmans’ Circle guest presenter was Tom Cates, CCO for Amadeus North America.
Since 2008, the UNIGLOBE brand has welcomed new Travel Management Companies from the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, France, Poland, the UK, Sweden, Romania, Slovenia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Jordan, Iraq and Australia.