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Working together to wade through challenging times

Andy Stark, managing director of the Global Travel Group, urges agents to work together so the industry emerges stronger than ever.

This is not a column about Brexit, I swear… Let’s be honest − I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing about it − are we or aren’t we? Being at the front of mind for most of us, however, and regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, there has been a real sense of “we are in this together” throughout the UK over the last few months. While opinions are varied, in the majority, no one disagrees that working together at this point will be so beneficial.

It’s something everyone at the Global Travel Group can appreciate and the focus of many of our internal meetings this year. There is strength in numbers, and this, in turn, can support businesses with growth. There’s much to be said for the community spirit that exists in membership organisations – diverse people, all with different life stories and experiences, but united in their purpose to build great businesses and offer exceptional services to clients.

And while you could say members are – indirectly, at least – in competition, I am always amazed by how much Global Travel Group agents will go out of the way to help one another. We often hold Global Gatherings which are small networking events held across the UK that see our agents join together to upskill on destinations and swap business knowledge.

Along with that, we offer free training from our Business’ Development Managers, GNOW (Global Network of Women) events and our Global Rocks events (not forgetting our legendary conferences...) where the sharing of best practice is front and centre.

Life on the high street can certainly be tough and this is something that travel businesses of all shapes and sizes know well. At the moment, the spotlight is on another major operator – one of the UK’s most loved and well-respected brands. Seeing travel companies take a kicking in the press is never good, but as an industry we are incredibly resilient and not unaccustomed to dealing with challenges.

Often, businesses and individuals emerge from adversity in much better shape. At Global, we have considerable experience in helping tour operators hit volume target – in fact, I’d say we are experts at it. Then, of course, our members have the flexibility and independence to pick and choose the best products for their clients. And while there has to be concern for retail staff everywhere, I would urge any travel agents worried about the future to remember that jobs for knowledgeable consultants are certainly available, often with stores in the thriving independent sector.

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) reported this week that spending by travellers rose by $100 billion in 2018. There will always be challenges to overcome in business but these figures represent a huge amount of growth and therefore opportunity for us all to maximise and succeed.


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