By Bruce Piper
ALTHOUGH there hasn’t been a single word of official comment, last month’s revelation of the new Link Travel Group must have absolutely rocked Helloworld Travel, which has lost two of its highest profile member agencies and surely faces the prospect of more to follow.
Link is an invitation-only joint venture created by Spencer Group and the Goldman Travel Corporation, which pre-pandemic are together estimated to have comprised at least $600 million in TTV for Helloworld.
Spencer Group CEO Penny Spencer was also a key player in Magellan Travel, having been a director of the group when it was controversially acquired by Helloworld about four years ago.
Goldman has also long been a flagship agency in the Helloworld for Business network, with both companies having multiple offices and business operations.
The intriguing move sees them now align with Flight Centre, which owns 60% of Link and will provide members with a range of services including access to its rich product portfolio and distribution capabilities.An independent Link board of directors will include Penny Spencer and Anthony Goldman, alongside Flight Centre’s Head of Premium Leisure, Danielle Galloway and a number of other yet-to–be-appointed members.
The group will be led by former Magellan/Helloworld Business Travel exec Scott Darlow, who left HLO without notice earlier this year and has presumably since been on “gardening leave”.
The expiry of contracts signed when Helloworld acquired Magellan was always going to create uncertainty within the group – compounded by the ructions of the pandemic – but until now most departures have been to join CT Partners.
Link provides a compelling alternative for top performing independent agencies, and the impact on Helloworld’s TTV and therefore ability to exact overrides from suppliers should not be underestimated.
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