For travellers seeking the ease and expertise of a travel agent, the term ‘consortia’ might not be on the top of your mind. However, understanding what consortia are and why you should be seeking out a travel agent that is part of one can significantly impact your travel experience for the better; who knows, maybe this could be the answer to all your travel woes? 

What Are Travel Consortia? 

By definition, a consortium (plural: consortia) is “an agreement, combination, or group formed to undertake an enterprise beyond the resources of any one member.” 

Within the travel industry, this refers to an association or group that provides a community of travel businesses with assets that they may not have the resources or connections to obtain individually. Very often, with resources such as supplier contracts and deals, card transactions, and currency hedging, dealings can be made cheaper, simpler, and less stressful when they are acquired for a group rather than an individual.  

For example, Protected Trust Services (PTS) could, by definition, be considered a consortium. By being a member of PTS, travel businesses have access to exclusive supplier contracts that they cannot get on their own. This is because many suppliers are more willing to provide such exclusive deals for a group over a single business since this creates a much more beneficial relationship for them in the long term.  

Why Should You Care as a Traveller? 

Of course, this definition alone doesn’t really explain why you, the traveller, should care about consortia. Just because a travel agent is getting support from an association like PTS, doesn’t mean your holiday is going to be any better, right?  

Wrong. The benefits that PTS members or consortia members receive can directly impact your next holiday. This could be for one of the following reasons: 

  1. Exclusive Deals and Better Value: with travel agents reaping the benefits of exclusive contracts with suppliers, they can offer their travellers special deals, reduced prices, and even more fun for your money that you may not get with a travel agent building these relationships solo. 
  2. Financial Security: though financial protection is required of travel businesses by UK law, there is always the risk of fraudulence and the possibility that a travel business may not return your money even if the legislation says so. This isn’t a risk when you book with a travel agent that is part of a consortium. For example, PTS does vigorous checks on all members before they are allowed to be members at all, PTS also provides the foundation and necessary financial protection for all members, ensuring that your protection comes before their profits.  
  3. Better Expertise: this may not seem like a massive one in theory, but if you are booking with a travel agent for the expertise, or maybe you’re booking a destination or activity that comes with risks, a travel agent that is part of a large community of travel businesses like PTS members is going to have a fantastic network of information that will help them to help you. This includes introducing new holidays to their selection that they may not have without the influence of the community, so if you love a particular travel agent, but aren’t selling what you really want yet, keep an eye out! 
  4. Community & Sharing: travel agents in consortia are much more likely to be able to refer you if you’re looking for the protection they provide, but their niche simply doesn’t serve you. This way, you can reap all those benefits while getting the holiday you really want. 
  5. Tech & Tools: some consortia, like PTS, provide advanced travel technology and tools that travel businesses cannot afford or acquire outside of a consortium. This means online payment may be simpler (or possible in the first place), and when you book your holiday, you will have an easy hub to check your details and communicate with your agent. 

How Do You Find Out if They are in a Consortium? 

Many consortia do require members to provide evidence of their membership. This is true of associations and the CAA as well. You’ve probably seen many of the ATOL ads by now, telling you to look out for their badge, and consortia are very similar (all businesses selling flights are legally required to have an ATOL and an ATOL badge, so check for that too!). 

If you want to know whether your chosen travel agent is a member of PTS, for example, all you need to do is look in their shop window or at the bottom of their website, and if you see the PTS logo with their business name and PTS number on it, then you’ve found the right fit for your next holiday. If you want to be doubly sure, you can also type their name or PTS number into the member finder on the PTS website and check our database for them.  

So, if you’re looking forward to your next holiday, don’t wait, book now with a travel business member of PTS for 100% financial protection through trust. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing one of the lovely PTS members to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988 or check us out on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.         

If you’d like to learn more about your financial protection with PTS or how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages and Travel Advice. 

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