Advantage’s managed service model celebrates 15th anniversary

The Advantage Travel Partnership will mark the 15th anniversary of its managed service business model next month.

The Advantage Managed Service (AMS) model was introduced in June 2009 to reduce the time and resources needed by members to run the operational side of a travel business and allow more time on sales and customer service.

It is now the consortium’s fastest-growing membership model, with 76 branches currently, collectively generating an annual turnover of £150 million. AMS turnover is up 63% on pre pandemic.

Chief operating officer Paul Nunn said: “This model is by far the most popular for new members coming into the group.

“One of the main benefits for members is all their client monies are protected in trust, making it best in class in terms of managed service models, as most comparable models only segregate own-ATOL monies.

“In addition to having access to dedicated financial administration resources, members also have sight of incoming customer bank transfers as each members trust account is ringfenced, meaning we can extend online bank account access to every individual member.”

Nunn said Advantage was continuing to invest heavily in AMS and has already introduced a new back-office system in the last 12 months.

As part of AMS, members have a dedicated Abta number, inhouse Atol options, a back-office system, merchant service options, centrally administered supplier payments, a trust account operation, and bank charges and technology fees included. They also have access to dedicated business development support, negotiated commercial terms with more than 300 suppliers, marketing campaigns and website solutions.

The most recent AMS member is Holiday Dreams in Spalding, which has achieved more than a quarter of a million pounds in turnover since opening in March, exceeding expectations of owners Joanne Devaney and Laura Rodrigues, both ex-Thomas Cook employees.

Devaney said: “We are really seeing the benefit of the Advantage Managed Service model. Both Laura and I have a combined experience of 20 years in retailing travel and from the outset wanted to focus on building our relationships with customers, marketing and sales and not be bogged down in the back-office functions.

“The model is totally geared for our leisure travel proposition providing all the tools and services you need to help run our travel agency business smoothly and efficiently.”

Sophie Lombari, of Abbot Travel, said her family bought the agency 15 years ago and was supported by Advantage, becoming one of the first to operate under the AMS model.

She said: “Without the support of the AMS team, it would not have given us the opportunity to create such a successful business over the last 15 years.

“Making our daily tasks all about selling rather than administration it has allowed us to build our knowledge and service our clients to the highest level. AMS has come a long way since 2009 and we look forward to its continued growth.”

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