|John Lovell, Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group; Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Network, Stephen McGillivray, Chief Marketing Officer of Travel Leaders Group, Jose Ferreira, Chief Technology Officer of Travel Leaders Group|
Travel Leaders Group has combined three of its agency brands to comprise a new entity called Travel Leaders Network. Under the new organization, Vacation.com, Travel Leaders Associates and Results! Travel, as of January 1, 2017, will function as one, under the single name, Travel Leaders Network. The names Vacation.com and Results! will sunset as a result of the move.
The combination of agency brands together generates $6.4 billion in cruise and tour sales. All told, adding in air, car and hotel revenue into the mix, they generate $17 billion a year and comprise more than a third of the travel agencies in North America.
The announcement of the new brand was made to the travel media press Tuesday, August 16, in New York by John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group, Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Network, and Steve McGillivray, chief marketing officer of Travel Leaders Group. They said this change has taken six months to make and required a lot of heavy lifting. Working as three separate agency groups had ceased to make sense, they said. In some instances, travel agencies were being called upon by each agency brand, and the brands were essentially competing against each other.
“We were creating confusion in the marketplace. We needed clarity,” said Lovell.
Existing Travel Leaders Associates will retain sole licensing rights for the exclusive use of the “Travel Leaders” brand name. Members of both Results! Travel and Vacation.com will automatically become members of Travel Leaders Network; “qualifying” members will have the option of becoming Travel Leaders Associates, which will provide a higher level of offerings.
Travel Leaders Network will clearly deliver a lot of clout in the supplier arena, in some cases producing as much as 50 to 60 percent of business for some companies. Executives of the new network will be speaking to suppliers today about the new entity.
“What do I expect? I expect it to be received very, very well,” said Lovell. “What do I expect from [suppliers]? Equitable compensation. Where else can you go and touch 33 percent of the industry?”
Lovell noted that Vacation.com has long produced a tremendous size of sales volume. “We are not an adversarial organization. Our success is dependent on the sales that our members generate and that won't change. We have very solid relationships with our partners today and I see that continuing on. People know me, they know Roger, Stephen and everybody around this table. We're not adversarial people, but we're demanding in terms of what we expect.”
Lovell noted that it will be easier for suppliers to deal with Travel Leaders Network, in that they’ll now have one contact. They’ll also benefit from the fact that annual conferences for Vacation.com, Travel Leaders Associates and Results! Travel will be combined starting in 2017, meaning suppliers will need just one booth and won’t have to pack and unpack. That conference has already been set for April 29-May 5, 2017, at Loews Universal in Orlando.
“There are a lot of efficiencies for them, but we'd like them to take that money and re-invest it back into our organization,” said Lovell.
Earlier this year, Travel Leaders Group combined the synergies of two other agency brands when it formed the Elite Travel Division, which brought Protravel and Tzell under one umbrella. Gail Grimmett, formerly of Delta Air Lines, was named president. Protravel and Tzell together generate nearly $4 billion in annual sales volume.
When asked if Elite Travel Division would eventually fall under the Travel Leader Network, Lovell said that that would be completely Grimmett’s decision. “But I hope that Gail will look at our organization,” he added.
Travel Leaders Network will continue to work out of Alexandria, VA, and Plymouth, MN.