FBI Travel heralds partnership with Forbes Travel Guide

Melbourne agency the first, and only, Australian agency endorsed by hotel ratings experts

FBI Travel is reaping the benefits of its unique affiliation with Forbes Travel Guide, says Danny Englman, Joint Managing Director. The Victoria-based agency earned its endorsement with Forbes Travel Guide last year and remains the sole frontline seller in Australia and New Zealand to have that privilege.

Being an affiliated agency provides a suite of benefits above and beyond what’s attainable through consortia.

“It’s an amazing partnership,” Englman told LATTE of its still exclusive arrangement in the region. He says the process to become endorsed by Forbes took some months, noting that the Virtuoso agency wasn’t an “unknown entity” to the hospitality ratings specialist and that it was “all pretty smooth.”

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While the arrangement was confirmed in April, it was an in-person meeting at Virtuoso Travel Week last August that cemented the relationships and signalled a gear change.

“We’re very chuffed that we’re the only endorsed agency in Australia. It’s very cool and the FBI team have adopted it with passion,” he said.

Englman explains that like FBI Travel many high-end travel agencies are already preferred partners with key luxury hospitality brands such as Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental and Peninsula, each with their own top-tier sellers status (ie. Four Seasons Preferred, The Peninsula Pen Club)

“Similar to Virtuoso, being endorsed gives us very, very high access to hotel management at the creme-de-la-creme of luxury hotels.”

“Forbes takes it to another level. When the hoteliers see our Forbes status they really stand up and take notice.”

“Our client requests are being actioned more timely and usually at the GM level.”

“It’s been fantastic for us. We’re very proud. And the feedback we get from Forbes is that the team are taking advantage of the arrangement.

“It really is a prestigious client and I didn’t really connect how much kudos it carries.”

“Forbes’ main agencies are in the US, as that’s where they are based. They’ve seen how our team here has embraced it to levels even greater than some US agencies.”

“We love it, and so do our clients.”

“We are conscious it’s not going to stay that way, being the only one in Australia,” Englman adds. “They’ve had agencies in this market knocking on the door want to be involved.”

“But as I tell the team, we’re always going to be the first and let’s continue to milk it for what it is.”

As LATTE exclusively revealed last month, Forbes Travel Guide is planning a concerted effort to make a bigger play in the Australia, New Zealand and Pacific markets in the next few years with a list of potential future Star-Rated hotels on the cards.

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