For the U.K. travel agent, the rewards of operating as an independent contractor are many - from the potential to earn more compensation by sharing in commissions earned from suppliers to the ability to carve out one’s own market niche. And as more agents contemplate stepping out on their own, whether by choice or necessity in these uncertain economic times, a new opportunity is emerging that allows them to maintain their independence while benefiting from the global reach and renown of a major industry player. ALTOUR, one of the largest and most respected agencies serving high-end corporate clients, is applying its proven U.S. business model to the U.K. market from its 10-year London office, seeking partnerships with independent agents who want to successfully leverage their specialties and client base in today’s economy. According to Nigel Parkinson, general manager of ALTOUR’s London office, who is spearheading the strategy, this model may be relatively new to the U.K. corporate travel market, but its success is well-documented in the U.S., where such partnerships are far more common. “It is a creative, intriguing approach to expansion in a challenging economic climate,” said Parkinson.
Partnering with a larger, established organisation, in this case, ALTOUR, offers the independent agent access to:
* The best airfares for their clients, thanks to the negotiating power and existing airline contracts of a well-respected agency with global reach
* Access to Sabre and IT support, translating into valuable time and money savings
* Specialised resources such as a rate desk based in London staffed by international tariff experts whose only responsibility is to, ensure the best available deals on all travel services, for even the most complicated itineraries
* The one-stop shopping and consistency of quality made possible through the ALTOUR family of services, including ALTOUR Limo and ALTOUR Air
* The unique benefits of an after hours service through which the independent contractor’s customers can reach a live agent by phone at any hour from any location in the world
* On-the-ground assistance for clients in times of peril. In an era in which travellers’ security is a foremost concern, ALTOUR has the local knowledge and influence to help facilitate their passage to safety - an ability that has been put to the test as recently as November’s events in Mumbai.