Angie Licea is President of Global Travel Collection, a division of Internova Travel Group, which includes the company’s high-service, premium and luxury travel businesses.
In addition to Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group, luxury brands Andrew Harper Travel and R. Crusoe & Son also reside in this division.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- about Global Travel Collection
- How travel advisors help with corporate and business travel
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by on pay built in Atlanta. On Pay is the top rated payroll and HR software anywhere. Get one month free at onpay. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:31] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a fun one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor on pay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories today on the Atlanta Business Radio. We have Angie Lecea with global travel collection. Welcome.
Anglie Licea: [00:00:51] Thank you so much, Lee.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:52] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about global travel collection. How are you serving, folks?
Anglie Licea: [00:00:58] So we’re very excited, first off, that we’re coming into your guys’s community. But to start, global travel collection is the world’s largest, most sophisticated community of travel industry agents and agencies. And so what we’ve done is within our Inner Nova parent group is created. Operating companies, the operating company Global Travel Collection, focuses primarily on luxury, leisure and bespoke corporate travel, as well as entertainment and production business travel business.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:32] So now how are how’s the. Can you give us just kind of a general where we’re at with the travel in the world today? It seems like it changes almost on a daily basis. Some countries are open, some countries aren’t. How do people even plan for travel nowadays?
Anglie Licea: [00:01:49] Yeah. So it’s a good question. Last week I was asked What can what’s the most consistent thing we can count on in twenty two? And I said inconsistency. So a little bit cheeky. But yes, it does change every single day. The good news is volume is picking up fairly substantially and there’s a couple of primary drivers to that. One of the driver is the actual vaccination for family members or for children. So, you know, in many cases, parents were able to go. Children weren’t in many countries. You couldn’t travel unless you had a vaccination or you’re willing to quarantine for 10 or 14 days. So the announcement of the fact that the vaccine is going to be available to younger folks is a driver of volume increase, albeit that is relatively recent and then the opening up of across the waters for Europeans to come over to the United States. Volume is growing. It’s growing at a decent pace. Are we anywhere near where we were in 2019? No. As an industry, we’re probably running somewhere around the 60 to sixty five percent range of 2019. But the good news is volume is increasing. It’s increasing steadily day after day, week after week and month after month and barring any particular huge flare up in the coronavirus. I think that for me, I would forecast my group would be back at 2019 levels early, late, twenty two or early. Twenty three.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:18] Now, I would think this is a good time for your business in terms of showing that there’s value in working with a travel advisor instead of going at it yourself. I would think that now people want to have an expert to kind of help them navigate this.
Anglie Licea: [00:03:37] Yes, for sure. First off, I’d start back to when the pandemic happened, you know, for for many of these advisers, they were the unsung hero within this whole pandemic because we had thousands and thousands of thousands of travelers stuck in different parts of the world trying to get home. People would purchase very exquisite vacations that they were trying to get refunds for. And these advisers, starting in March of twenty twenty, were basically working for free or at a loss for months on end, trying to get their their travelers back where they belong, trying to get them refunds, sitting on the phone for hours. That in itself should show the consumer base when it comes to somebody having your back. Travel advisors have your back, but also when you look at the complexity of travel today and moving forward, you know, going back to you just get on a plane and you really don’t think about things that other than maybe your visa or a passport, those days are gone for for the foreseeable future. So, you know, in this, travel agents have always been consultants helping consumers find the best location for the best value. You know, making sure that the endless, you know, a to z of the trip is is accommodated for and that the travel agent is thinking of the questions that a consumer has not even thought to ask yet, right? That kind of summarizes a trial, an advisor. And then you late layer the complexity of the pandemic. On top of that and the changing of protocols, what do you need? What’s the paperwork? The paperwork for each country is different. So could you imagine a consumer or a traveler trying to navigate the issues with the coronavirus? What documentation is required? Where do I get the paperwork? What if that protocol changes? And then plus on top of that, just the fact that we are still dealing with occupancy and capacity constraints, you know, spaces of where to go, where to travel, where to stay are limited as well. So all of those things are encapsulated in the value that a travel advisor brings to a traveler or a consumer.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:52] Now how has the how has the shakeout in the industry for travel advisors been? With the advent of so many of these online places where you, it seems there are, I’ll just say they make it seem that it’s possible and doable and almost easy to just do this on your own and you don’t need a travel advisor. It’s been my experience. I prefer personally to always have an expert at hand because I I want someone who’s already been there and done that and knows what I don’t know because they’re dealing with it every day. But I would imagine a lot of the public thinks this is something that they can do on their own.
Anglie Licea: [00:06:32] Yeah, I think there’s a fair amount of people who think they can do it on their own. But you know, I like to say you hire a personal trainer to learn to work out. You hire a nutritionist to learn how to eat you and hire a financial analyst to help you with your money. Travel is not inexpensive, why would anybody not take the available expertize of somebody who knows and exactly to your point, who’s been there, who’s done that knows what the pitfalls to watch for and knows what the advantages are? Why wouldn’t you be using the expert? These are not just jobs to these people. These are this is their career. This is their life, career, and they are absolute experts in this space. So, you know, the online space, they’re doing their job, their marketing, because they’re trying to say, you don’t need an adviser. They’re doing their job. But in reality, exactly to your point, why wouldn’t you use an expert and avoid the pitfalls? Understand the questions that you should be asking. It’s just to me, it’s sometimes it boggles my mind to think why people think that they shouldn’t use an adviser, but each to his own. If it’s me, I’m calling an adviser for sure.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:45] Well, I think that to your point about it, it’s not only is it expensive, but it’s to make a mistake based on somebody has a persuasive web copy on an internet that you were in three o’clock in the morning looking at without knowing kind of having boots on the ground and having been there and known, Hey, that’s in a terrible neighborhood. I’ve seen people like book hotels that are nowhere near where the anything is because it was inexpensive and it seemed they made it seem like it was a suitable choice.
Anglie Licea: [00:08:19] But they make it seem like it’s just around the corner when in many cases it’s not so. Yeah. Leigh, I agree. I think you’re doing a great job in helping us send the message just in your commentary on what you’re saying, because in the end, these guys do know what it’s like to have boots on the ground.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:37] Right. So I mean, this is one of those things. It’s kind of I don’t want to say it’s a pet peeve, but it’s one of those issues where people think they’re they’re saving some money, but they’re not because one mistake is going to cost you. It could be way more than money. I mean, it could be you’re stuck now there for two weeks, and there’s all these unintended consequences of making a mistake.
Anglie Licea: [00:08:57] Yeah. Or just wasted money on things that you thought you were going to get that you’re not going to get. I mean, who’s going to go fight that battle if you show up your hotel at 10 o’clock at night and they say, I’m sorry, we don’t have space, you’re on your own if you booked it on your own, if you booked it with the travel advisor. They’re there to help you resolve the issue for you.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:15] Now in your role as president is part of that role, attracting travel advisors to the company and partnering with travel advisors. Or is it just helping get the word out with enterprise level companies and people that want to use the travel agent?
Anglie Licea: [00:09:33] Yeah. So I think it’s all of the above. You know, we’re very particular in our organization as to the advisor that we’re looking to attract. So we always look to grow our advisor population, but we don’t want just every advisor. We want advisors that are going to add to our portfolio, add to the value, add to the level of expertize. So for example, if somebody is, you know, we we find an advisor that’s a specialist in Bucharest and Bucharest is a hot place right now in a lot of our advisors maybe don’t know it. That’s a great advisor for us, right? But we don’t want just any advisor. We want advisors who are going to add value to our consumer base, to their consumer base and to the agent population as a whole. From doing more to create volume and travel, we’re doing a lot around thought leadership and exposure to the value of a travel agent. Hence, our recent campaign book Human to really show the value of the Advisor. So we’re looking to bring in advisors to grow our portfolio, but we’re also looking to bring in new consumers that the advisors can support.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:42] And then that ideal consumer. Is it somebody at the corporate level or is it an executive? Is it for personal travel or business travel? Both.
Anglie Licea: [00:10:51] Yeah. So all. So in our segmentation, the beautiful part of Nova, which is our parent company, as I say, we have a place for every traveler that wants to travel. So within our segmentation, right, we have primarily bespoke corporate travel. We have corporate clients, we have a lot of high end corporate clients and then executives of corporate clients. So we certainly target the corporate space. A very hot area for a lot of travel agencies. Certainly for us is production and entertainment. So attracting those, you know, these companies that are producing new films and new TV programs and handling the production travel for them or even top entertainment, musicians, singers, actors that you know are are these very iconic individuals in their space also do a ton of business for us. So we really would. In our group, we have those four areas that we have high focus on. We’re also looking at focusing on expanding in the honeymoon and romance area as well as health and wellness. I truly believe Leigh will be one of the top verticals for types of travel in the future. Then, coming out of the pandemic, a lot of people said, I want to try to find peace and balance, and that health and wellness segmentation is growing substantially.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:14] The allocation?
Anglie Licea: [00:12:16] Oh, the health and wellness. And then the I’m sorry, you said,
Lee Kantor: [00:12:22] Well, I said the word allocation where you’re going to play and you’re trying to kind of recharge.
Anglie Licea: [00:12:28] Oh yeah, for sure. We we have a lot of people who I kind of joke about it. We have this thing where we say it’s like the getaway vacation and it stays in the place where a lot of people have been in their home with their families for all these months. And they’re saying, I want to get away and I want to go play. So I think that plays into your space, too. A lot of people have really assess that, reassess themselves. They’ve reassessed what value is. And then in some cases, going out and just having some fun and relaxing is really important to consumers today. And so we are seeing a lot more in that sort of fun play space. It doesn’t have to be a big serious vacation. It might just be a weekend away, but it’ll be relaxing.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:10] So say I’m an executive at an enterprise level company and I want to work with global travel collection. Is it something that I have kind of an account person that’s on my team that says, Hey, my family and I want to go, you know, and I know all around the world trip and then and we just start talking about it. Is that how it works like or is it? I go to a portal and I figure it out? Or how does it work?
Anglie Licea: [00:13:38] Yeah. So if somebody would like to do business with this, we have multiple websites across our different brands global travel collection. We have pro travel zel travel in the no experience. Andrew Harper. So any of those brands that somebody might be familiar with or again could go directly to global travel collection, they can launch an inquiry directly from the website. And then what we would do is match them up with an advisor. And then the advisor would become their consultant or consultation for whatever trip that they have now and into the future. The interesting thing about travel agents, Leigh, is it’s much like a hairdresser, right? So people will follow their hairdresser, they will once they find a hairdresser, they like they’re with that person. For life, travel agents are much the same. Once you find a travel agent that you trust and you know, has your back and could take care of things they stay with with the advisor for years and years and years. So we’re ready and waiting for all those inquiries to come in through either our website or reaching out to one of our eight hundred members.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:45] So now why did what was the impetus for the move to Atlanta?
Anglie Licea: [00:14:51] So Atlanta has been an area that we’ve been very, very interested in for a long time, and it just so happened that we had a group of advisors that are long standing members of the Atlanta community, you know, in the Buckhead and the, you know, the Ansley Park sort of areas and their institutions in the community. And they had an interest in joining us. And we we jumped at the opportunity at the very first conversation when they said, Look, we’d like to have a conversation with you guys. We were committed at that point to build an office and grow the office in the Atlanta market. We love the Atlanta population and we truly, truly believe it’s an area of major growth for us. So the impetus was these advisors saying, Hey, we like you guys and we were like, We really like you. And then the want and the need for us to build something in Georgia, which we wanted to do for a long time. It was a match made in heaven, for sure.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:58] Now what is the strategy in terms of having an actual office when so much of this stuff is can be done online or over the phone or on Zoom? Is it something that you’re trying to encourage this kind of face to face relationships and real personal?
Anglie Licea: [00:16:13] Well, I think in two parts for for an advisor, particularly, there’s there’s a fair population of advisers who don’t want to work from home, they want to go into a business environment and then we still have a large number of consumers who like to come in and sit down to plan their trip. So, you know, from from the need of the adviser as well as the need of the consumer, you know, to want to connect physically, personally, it was important for us to have a presence now. There’s still a fair population or a large population of people who don’t mind doing things via text or email or just a phone call. And for those people, you know, we have that solution too. But we did want to accommodate the need in the Atlanta area. For those consumers who still physically want to come in, have a seat, have a chat and plan something out with the adviser directly.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:05] So what do you need more of? How can we help? Do you need more people that want to connect with global travel collection? Do you need more advisers both?
Anglie Licea: [00:17:15] So there’s advisers who are thinking that they feel like this would be a great place for them, the global travel collection or organization? We’d love to talk to you if there’s consumers who are planning travel on their own and they’re kind of questioning, is this something I should be doing on my own? My goodness, this is so complex. Why am I thinking about doing this on my own? Please reach out to us because we have the most amazing advisers around the world supporting our customers today, and many of them are sitting right in your backyard in the office. We’ve just opened and then.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:52] Is there a fee to be part of this? Are you a member of global travel collection or is this something that the fees are just built into the each individual travel?
Anglie Licea: [00:18:01] Yeah. So it depends on the the travel type. So, you know, simple air car and hotel. Sometimes advisors will charge a nominal fee or no fee. Sometimes it’s is very extensive 200 day around the world trip. There may be a planning fee, but I would guarantee you that the money and the trouble that could potentially be charged is far offset by the value that the consumer gets by working with an advisor, working with an advisor. We don’t have a set fee and say, OK, if you’re going to talk to us, it’s one hundred bucks. That’s not how I travel advisor works. They assess the environment, the situation, and then there’s a consultation conversation about what, if, if a fee is charged, what that fee might be.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:45] So you don’t you’re not a member of global travel collection and then you’re you get access to stuff. This is just if I call global travel collection, I book a trip, it’ll be a transparent fee in there or or it’ll just be absorbed as part of the travel.
Anglie Licea: [00:19:01] Correct. But also leave from a from a total leverage standpoint. Inter Nova’s our parent company. We have we’re one of the largest agencies in North America, so our ability, our buying power is quite strong. So even though somebody wouldn’t necessarily need to sign up and be a member of global travel collection, there are tremendous benefits in the form of discounts, enhanced amenities, you know, just an expert advisor knowing how to price something effectively. There’s tremendous value with somebody doing business with us versus maybe a smaller agency because we do have the leverage of our parent company, which is which is amazing,
Lee Kantor: [00:19:45] But it’s one of those things that it’s best suited for some level of complexity rather than, Hey, I’m just flying down to visit my folks in New York and I just need an airplane ticket.
Anglie Licea: [00:19:57] No, I think that there’s value to that as well. It just depends on the consumer’s comfort level. That’s what should drive a decision if you’re a first time traveler and you’ve never booked an air ticket before. Probably best to use an advisor if if you don’t want to be troubled and you just want to like what I do, I just send three sentences I need to go, This is the date. This is how much I want to pay APR and my travel agent takes care of everything. So it really depends on the individual. The complex, the more complex, the more the advisor is needed. But that doesn’t mean even a simplistic trip somebody shouldn’t consider using an advisor.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:37] Good stuff. Well, congratulations on all the success, and thank you so much for sharing your story today.
Anglie Licea: [00:20:43] Well, thank you and thank you for helping us share this story. We appreciate it.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:47] All right, this is Lee Kantor will sail next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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