USTOA News

USTOA In Travel Market Report

Published Dec 6, 2019 12:00AM


So how does a consortia or host agency help? What role does an advisor have? And how can advisors protect themselves going forward?

Leaders from host agencies and consortia spoke to Travel Market Report about the issues, and most agreed that, after the banner year of supplier issues that the industry has experienced in 2019, the role of the community of advisors is more important than ever.

‘Eyes and ears’
For Signature, there’s been nothing usual about the last year of supplier defaults. Alex Sharpe, president and CEO of the Signature Network, told Travel Market Report that, in his nine years at the helm before 2019, the network has never had a default with a preferred supplier. This year, they had three.

“It’s a big deal, but in the overall scheme of things, we’re not talking about a big percentage of our revenue,” he said, adding that what Signature does take more seriously than the loss of business is the potential loss of faith in an advisor that might come from a client after a default.

“We take the tarnishing of their reputation very seriously. We work for them, both figuratively and literately. The heads of our agencies are my bosses. We can’t just say, ‘Hey, sorry.’”

Just this year, Signature has added a number of new steps to its supplier-vetting process, including a change of ownership clause in the annual agreement, referrals from other tour operators and more 

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