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‘Emirates’ buying clout gives Global members comfort’

The backing of dnata Travel means Global agents are guaranteed access to worldwide product thanks to the Emirates Group’s huge buying power. Stark said this means the

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Jo Fairley Nick Hughes Darren Hepburn Bruce Martin Andy Harmer

Group boosts agent places for Emirates-backed forum

Unprecedented demand for Global’s first overseas conference saw delegate numbers for agent members increased by more than 50%.

The group quickly sold its initial allocation of 120 agent places for the three-day event in Dubai and as of last week had hit 190. Stark said the agenda gives

delegates, some of whom have not visited Dubai, the chance to experience a destination that is rivalling the likes of the Canaries as a year-round sun destination. In previous years the Global

event has been held at the Carden Park Hotel near Chester. “The level of interest suggests

there was pent-up demand for an overseas conference,” Stark said. “Dubai has definitely got an

attraction. It’s a destination that will become more popular in the next decade along with other emirates like Ras Al Khaimah as they develop their products. “And it will become more

affordable with more three and four-star and all-inclusive properties. It’s going to be an option like the Canaries was 20 years ago.

“It’s spectacular, it’s breathtaking: there is nowhere else quite like Dubai”

The decision to host the

conference in Dubai has been supported by Global’s new Dubai- based parent, dnata Travel, which is part of the Emirates group. This means the cost to

agents has been minimised, with subsidised flights and accommodation, as well as

activities and sightseeing trips. And Stark said there was no

resistance from members to the amount of time required out of the office to attend the event. “We were always planning to

go somewhere different this year, even before the acquisition [by dnata], and we looked at a number of options, not excluding Europe. “We gave people a lot of notice

and all of the pricing from an agents’ point of view is heavily subsidised.” The conference will see 22 new

Global members attending for the first time and 12 existing members.

Global Travel Group Conference, May 23-26

WHERE: Atlantis The Palm, Dubai DELEGATES: 190 agents and 130 suppliers, partners and staff SPONSORS: Arabian Adventure, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai Tourism, Emirates AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS HEADLINE SPEAKER: Jo Fairley, co-founder of Green & Black’s organic chocolate company

SELLING HOLIDAY ESSENTIALS: Nick Hughes, director of sales, Attraction World PRACTICAL EMAIL MARKETING: Darren Hepburn, sales director, NewZapp GETTING SOCIAL: Bruce Martin, founder, Ginger Juice COOL CRUISING: Andy Harmer, UK director, Clia

consortium has no need to create an in-house tour operation, as rivals have done, because it has Travel 2, Gold Medal and the Triton Rooms bed bank as sister companies. He said the purchasing

power of dnata “gives members comfort because we are a large organisation”, particularly in a year when capacity in some popular destinations is in short supply. Following the purchase by

dnata of former Global parent Stella Travel UK in September 2014, a single buying team has been created across the group. Global has also aligned its business with dnata Travel UK, including moving its financial year-end to the end of March. “We’ve seen really positive

growth and we can see how our results have impacted on dnata Travel. I believe dnata will be pleased with their acquisition,” said Stark. Although Global, with 350 members, is the smallest of the three large consortia, Stark believes all have their place as separate entities and Global is targeting growth through attracting established agents. “We do not want to be persuading anyone to join us,” he said. “All we are saying is if you are at a crossroads or at the end of your current membership, think about Global.” Stark said Global remains a good option for start-up agents, adding that reviews of its upfront costs in recent years meant it can cost as little as £10,000 to become a member.

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