Travel news for the trade community

New partnership to help agents avoid the “onslaught” of OTAs

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After signing a deal earlier this month, Advantage Travel Partnership UK and India’s Pricol Travel created Advantage Asia, India’s very first leisure travel consortium.

Intrigued, I spoke to A Dharmaraj, COO of  Advantage Asia Travel Partnership, to find out how the consortium came into being and the company’s new Empowerment Programme.

In your own words what are the main reasons for an India-based travel consortium?

Holiday agency entrepreneurs need a complete business support system that can enable them to discover out from the surge of the online players and make progress. The end goal is to address these issues as our Empowerment Programme stretches out the following services such as technology, marketing, training, preferred suppliers, networking opportunities and overall business management.

Why now?

Now is the right time to choose the right partners for support due to the evolution of technology, user experience and services to stand out of the competition.

How did your relationship with Pricol Travel begin and what do you expect from the partnership?

Looking at the high competition in the Indian holiday travel market, and the cost involved for an Individual entrepreneur to overcome them by investing in technology and resources, it seemed impossible for a small to mid-sized holiday agency to overcome the threat from the online big fishes.

We learned this from other matured markets, which are already a part of a similar partnership and thus we launched the Advantage Asia Travel Partnership in India. It not only gives these agencies the edge to compete with others but at the same time it is convenient and affordable to avail these services.

“We expect everyone to benefit from this programme and grow rapidly”

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The Advantage Asia Travel Partnership Consortium provides the necessary edge to smaller or mid-sized holiday travel agencies in Asia and the Middle East through its Empowerment Programme. The programme is not only affordable but also consists of all necessary aspects like technology, marketing, training, business consulting, supplier negotiations, networking and assistance in designing holiday products. This will enable them to offer the best blend of travel products and services. We expect everyone to benefit from this programme and grow rapidly.

Can you explain exactly how the Empowerment Programme works?

We work closely with our member partners to boost their business by implementing the right technological solutions and offering their customers the most inspirational, yet affordable range of travel products – thereby having access to the world’s best tourism product suppliers. We are looking forward to associating with over a hundred agencies within the next three years.

“We strongly believe that the holiday agency entrepreneur needs a complete business support system”

Can you outline the functionality of your business model?

Though there are various travel associations or franchise models that exist in the Indian travel fraternity, however at present it is hard to find a consortium supporting the holiday travel business.

We strongly believe that the holiday agency entrepreneur needs a complete business support system that can help them find their way out from the onslaught of the online players and achieve success.

What are your plans for the future?

First, get the best fit agencies as members within the programme, which we have already achieved. Second, we need to reach the right size to continually deliver value, and third, build on our current strength and deliver not just what is existing in the programme but also strive for a continued upgrade of the aforementioned solutions — marketing, technology, suppliers and training.

To learn more visit www.advantageasia.in

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