In the past fortnight, four industry heavyweights have announced their latest results: Tui, Thomas Cook, easyJet and Ryanair. Some have been less promising than others, sending the markets into a spin. The results and subsequent PR prompted me to think about the value of partnerships.
There are numerous academic studies extolling the virtues of friendships and partnerships in society, and the same is true of strategic alliances, which have become an important means of developing a firm’s competitiveness.
We invest time and effort in friendships and partnerships in our personal lives and in the world of business, and the same rationale applies when it comes to picking which companies to work with. It’s a relatively modern phenomenon to call these allies “business partners”, but “partners” they certainly are. While attractive, alliances can be risky and difficult to manage.
It’s something that has increasingly been on my radar at dnata. Both Gold Medal and Travel 2 have long histories in the industry, which suggests they are well trusted by travel agents – certainly, plenty of rival businesses have fallen by the wayside trying to compete.
We conducted comprehensive research of agent attitudes earlier this year, which found while retail staff often have a favourite out of the two brands, there is pretty much universal respect for the service and products both provide. That obviously makes me very proud.
Travel retail has moved on significantly in recent years. While the multiples are directionally selling with ever more force, independent agents are thriving on the strength of their knowledge and commitment to clients. As a result, Gold Medal and Travel 2 are ideally placed to benefit.
The pressure is on to offer greater choice, provide the most competitive prices and move into new markets. The independent sector is growing because owners don’t want to stand still, and that means we can’t take it easy either.
As part of our strategic alliance strategy, we’ve joined a number of associations including Tipto and Clia over the past 12 months as we build our links on the supply side.
In a market where consumers are increasingly looking for interesting, luxurious and immersive holidays, we need to be getting out making new pals.
Deepening our relationships means we can work with partners on joint marketing, offer enhanced commission and incentives, and even more spectacular fam trips. And, in turn, we can deliver sales results that work for suppliers. The circle is then complete and we can look out for each other. That’s a true partnership.
Travel has always been volatile and prone to external factors. Who knows what the future holds for our industry, but the fact is we all need friends – whether that’s in our personal lives or in business.
Lisa McAuley is managing director of Gold Medal and Travel 2
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Gold Medal and Travel 2 are trade-only operators providing you with access to over 100,000 hotels, all major airlines, touring, cruise, groups and luxury, all at the most competitive prices in the market.