The Australian Travel Agents Co-operative (ATAC) held its annual general meeting, conference and gala dinner in Hobart last month at the Grand Chancellor Hotel with much cause for celebration.
A record $200 million in turnover was achieved for the financial year 2016/17 as well as 19 new members joining the buying group, swelling its ranks by just over 20% to now comprise 100 members.
The group also welcomed its first member to join from Perth since changes were made in state law to the administration of co-operatives.
travelBulletin was the sole media to attend the conference, ATAC’s biggest to date, and spoke with their chairman Ken Morgan and general manager Michelle Emerton about the ‘quiet achievers’ of the industry.
Both executives were keen to express ambitions for the group to grow by utilising an appealing proposition that no fees are charged to members and that 100% of profits are directed back to each member.
“The only time we’ve got our hands in our members’ pockets is to put money in rather than take it out. We don’t charge any fees to belong,” said Morgan.
According to the executives, such a proposition comes as a welcome relief to many new members with Morgan adding “we get members who come from where they were charged significant fees and they really appreciate that they now get a direct deposit into their bank. They’re amazed.”
The conference dubbed ‘Future Focus’ provided members with a number of workshops designed to boost their email marketing and social media skills as well as networking sessions with preferred suppliers.
“We’re very conscious about working with preferred suppliers at our conferences, rather than just taking from them”, said Emerton adding that “we’ve got all the big preferred suppliers but also we’ve got many niche operators too so ATAC members have a wider selection of partners they can use.”
It wasn’t all work, with members treated to a tour and dinner at the historic Cascade Brewery along with a lavish gala dinner where 10 members won flights plus a tour of India courtesy of Consolidated Travel and Total Holiday Options.
The 2018 ATAC conference will take place in Singapore from2 — 4 November.