Link Travel Group may expand its presence beyond Australia in the next 12 months, with demand high from travel agencies abroad, LATTE can exclusively reveal.
This week, Link Travel Group hosted a member and partner celebratory event in Sydney with around 100 guests in attendance, including founding board Danielle Galloway, from FCTG and LTG Chairwoman, Penny Spencer of Spencer Group, Director of LTG; Scott Darlow, General Manager of LTG and David Goldman, of Goldman Group.
Reflecting on the past 12 months, Darlow told LATTE that “business has been fantastic” and the group had received strong interest from agencies around Australia. And while operating on an “invitation-only” basis, there had been plenty of direct approaches by interested agencies, many of which didn’t meet the grade.
“[Interest is] a bit of both, and we’ve just hit the half-century of agents that we’ve said ‘no’ to,” Darlow said.
“From a Link perspective, we are gearing up for some pretty heavy expansion next year, especially in the middle part of the year. We remain absolutely committed to not being a mass market group. It’s a very compelling group that we have,” Darlow said to a crowded room at the InterContinental Sydney.
He told LATTE having access to the Flight Centre Travel Group ecosystem has been “nothing short of fantastic. Anything that is on their shelf is on our shelf.”
“From an independent agency perspective, having access to those initiatives such as your TP connect which takes care of your NDC solutions for single sign-on homeport solutions, they’re all active and within the group now, members are seeing the benefits.
“We can choose preferred partners from the Flight Centre and Travel Partners portfolios, as well as having direct deals as they wish, but at present Darlow says there isn’t much missing within the stable.
“We’ve got everyone that we need, corporate and leisure,” Spencer told LATTE.
Galloway said making sure commercial arrangements are strong for Link members has “definitely been delivered” and been a “powerhouse” for them.
As of this week, Link Travel Group comprises 16 owners and 22 outlets, amassed in 12 months.
“We’re pulling in TTV of what some of our old groups used to take 10 years to reach that position,” Darlow said.
“And we’ve got strong commitments from 2024” with around 10 new members on the horizon.
He couldn’t elaborate on who the new agents were, but hinted to those attendees at Wednesday night’s function that the next agency was based in Western Australia. Details of that agency were expected within days.
“We’re still adamant it has to be the right agent,” Darlow said of prospective new agencies, adding “some just haven’t been quite the right fit.”
“We’re looking for industry leaders, those that want to be on the projection with us and want to fit in with our objectives. Some of them may have been looking to park their business while they sell it or retire, that’s not necessarily what we are looking for.
Galloway told LATTE it was “all about fitting the mold”.
At present, Link doesn’t have a presence in Tasmania the ACT or Northern Territory. Quizzed if having Link represented in each state and territory of Australia was important, Spencer said location “doesn’t matter”.
Asked about expansion beyond Australia, Darlow told LATTE: “For the short-term, let’s make sure Australia is up and running, however we certainly won’t say no to future expansion globally. That will be a discussion between the joint venture owners, Flight Centre Travel Group, Spencer Travel and Goldman Group.”
Galloway was however more open, telling LATTE, “We’ve certainly got a lot of interest from international parties, so it’s definitely on the cards, in particular interest from New Zealand.”