John McMahon, Executive Vice President/Group Publisher
As I write this month’s column I am just receiving the news of Travel Leaders Group bringing the Vacation.com, Results! Travel and the Travel Leaders Associates brands together under the name of the Travel Leaders Network. Collectively, the combined agency groups generate $17 billion a year and comprise more than a third of the travel agencies in North America. The move is not a surprise, as I expect more consolidation to happen within the industry as agency networks strive to leverage and strengthen their collective assets.
Keep in mind that these assets are the people within the networks; and that the key revenue drivers are the front line advisors. In the world of revenue, profits, transactions and bookings — the bigger the number, the better product offering you will receive from preferred suppliers, as this is the main driver of consortia relationships.
To reiterate, it’s the people that build brands and who are the core assets of a business. This month’s cover story features Beatrice and Brett Tollman, the driving force behind family-owned Travel Corporation. Collectively, the Tollmans have built one of the most diverse travel companies in the business. Familiar brands include Uniworld River Cruises, Trafalgar and Red Carnation Hotels. Recently, Red Carnation Hotels purchased the crown jewel of the portfolio, Ashford Castle, in Ireland. Pictured here at Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas is Niall Rochford, general manager of Ashford Castle and Paula Carroll, Ashford’s director of sales and marketing with myself and Kimberly Newbury of Luxury Travel Advisor. Speaking of great people behind amazing brands, Brett Tollman has just hired Ellen Bettridge as president and CEO of Uniworld, another crown jewel in human capital. I continue to say that when it comes to luxury travel, it’s just as much the software as it is about the individuals. When you appreciate the power in the people, that’s what will set you apart from the rest.