Global Travel Group: 'Play to your strengths'

With a seven year track record, two Suffolk franchisees reflect on their success with Global Travel Group. The Group's Marketing Manager Neil Osthoff reports

In September 1999 Mark Scrivener and Charlotte Gilbey launched Mango Travel in Little Saxham, Bury St Edmunds. They both had backgrounds in high street agencies and tour operations, but most recently Mark had worked in animal nutrition and Charlotte trading coffees and commodities on the stock market.

Even with previous experience in the travel industry they found, like most people, that they needed the benefits and support of joining a travel consortium. Mark confirms: 'We decided to join The Global Travel Group as it gave us the option to open up without needing vast amounts of bonding money.

In the long-term, we have someone to look after the payments, ticketing, licensing and technology. There are some real stars working at Head Office!' Mango Travel has had a lot of success with long haul business and specialises in Indian Ocean, Egypt and air tickets. The reasoning for this target market is based on their proximity to Stansted airport. 'Being incredibly close to an airport with lots of No Frills airlines means the European market is very cheap and accessible especially for the lower grades of accommodation. We focus on the top end where there is more margin to be made,' explains Mark.

Nearly all of Mango Travel's business is now through repeat clients and their referrals. 'We hardly ever advertise, we have our pre-existing clients and word of mouth,' Mark adds.
'One gentleman has made 96 bookings with us and many others have exceeded 20!' Mark and Charlotte never intended to have staff and believe their key to success is to find tour operators in which they trust and support them. 'We never set out to sell everything to everyone, whatever the commission,' says Mark. 'We find something that we are good at selling and stick with it while it works.'

With nearly seven years under their belt, Mark advises new members to keep changing. 'You have to look at other markets to promote,' he reflects. 'My tip for next winter is the Cape Verde Islands, but don't tell everyone!'

Marketing Manager, Neil Osthoff adds 'The Global Travel Group has received a string of awards for technology and innovation over the past two years and in October 2005 formed the Triton Travel Group, uniting the leading Independent travel groups. The Triton Travel Group is the UK's largest travel group holding considerable high street presence and buying power. The Group has recently launched 'TritonSearch' which has been heralded as the 'Ultimate Travel Reservation System'. Together with the option of fully bookable online state of the art websites, our members are at the forefront of travel, travel technology, marketing and commercial deals.'