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13 Oct 2017
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Comment: Celebrating smaller agencies – and success

As a small independent business like so many of our members, it’s easy to feel powerless when a change in government legislation comes along, especially when it has far-reaching ramifications.

Opinion Julia Lo Bue-Said
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When it’s a tough gig separating the very best from the best, I know we’re doing something right.

Once the EU Payment Services Directive 2 is enforced in January 2018, agents will no longer be able to pass credit and debit card fees on to customers. Good news for a consumer booking a holiday, but the financial burden this will shift on to agents has the ability to make or break a business. That is why we here at Advantage have been looking seriously at ways to recoup those losses.


Every business is different, and there isn’t one fix for everyone. However, detailed in our newly released 12-page Profit Protection Plan, our members will find a variety of practical solutions.
As a consortium, we are here to help, for better, for worse.


Last Friday was one of those better times. It was the return of Advantage’s Big Celebration Lunch, one of my favourite days of the year. We launched the Big Celebration Lunch in 2016 in recognition of the award-winning businesses and people that contribute to the success of the Advantage group.


We think of Advantage as a big family. We are almost 40 years old and still growing; evolving our proposition to deliver a world-class business on behalf of our member shareholders. We are also the only organisation of our size that is still owned by the members – they control our direction. When we all get together, it feels like one big extended family coming together for a Christmas lunch – with plenty of good cheer – but without the arguments!


This year we hosted 240 guests at the Grange City Hotel in London, when our charity draw raised £3,600 for the Together Forever Foundation. It was set up by Advantage member Westoe Travel, to help the families of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry, who tragically lost their lives in the Manchester bombing.


TV presenter Mark Durden-Smith was our host once again as we celebrated the rising stars and the outstanding achievers, the top sellers and the unsung heroes.


I was also delighted to hear how taxing the judging process was for our panel – when it’s a tough gig separating the very best from the best, I know we’re doing something right.

 

We can all be a little reluctant to sing about our successes, for fear of being accused of bragging. Personally, I think that concern is misplaced – we should blow our own trumpets more often! And that is why the Big Celebration Lunch is now a firm fixture in the industry calendar and we’re looking forward to next year already.

 

Julia Lo Bue-Said is managing director of The Advantage Travel Partnership

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