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Travel Agent Resources

What is a Travel Consortium?

By Courtney Eisen

February 22, 2024

A travel consortium or travel cooperative is a collective of travel agencies, host agencies, and travel advisors that combine their volume to enhance their presence in the industry. They work together to increase their buying potential, benefits, and commission levels.

The Benefits of Volume

Let's break down the benefits of buying power from top to bottom. If an individual traveler visits a hotel for a week each year, which would mean they were pretty loyal, they still only represent seven room nights a year. An agent who sends multiple clients to that same hotel could represent hundreds of room nights per year. Their agency may represent thousands of room nights. The travel consortia could represent tens or even hundreds of thousands of room nights for that property or brand. Do you see where we are going with this? The volume gives the organization more leverage to negotiate. Just like the individual traveler gets benefits by using an agency, an agency gets benefits by joining forces with a travel consortium.

Consortia and co-ops provide their members with various benefits and support. They assist with marketing, training, technologies, and supplier negotiations, among other things. For example, they offer direct mailings, hosted websites, social media content, and other marketing tools. They also provide technologies such as websites, CRM systems, online booking programs, and more. Additionally, they offer training opportunities like webinars, online courses, and events with educational panels. Moreover, consortia have greater buying power, allowing them to negotiate higher commissions and more amenities for their members.

You Likely Still Need a Host Agency

However, it's important to note that consortia do not provide an accreditation number or day-to-day back-office support like tracking commissions and basic bookkeeping. If you prefer constant support, a host agency might be a better option. Nevertheless, most agencies offer some level of backend support.

Independent advisors with their own travel accreditation, are able to join travel consortia as individuals. However, if you're a hosted agent, it's unlikely that you will need to join a travel consortium - your host is likely already a member, which gives you access to the consortium's benefits. To join a consortium, members usually need to meet certain sales thresholds and pay member dues. If you do not meet the requirements to join a specific consortium as an independent advisor, you can choose a host agency that is part of that consortium.

Consortia affiliations can have a significant impact on hosted advisors. A host's consortium affiliation provides benefits that trickle down to the hosted advisor or independent contractor. It powers the booking and marketing tools used by agencies under the host agency, impacting marketing efforts, access to higher commissions and amenity programs, and leads. Consortia affiliations help smaller agencies scale their business and access tools without having to meet prohibitive sales thresholds as individuals.

Travel Consortia Benefits

So, if you do join a consortium or join an agency affiliated with a consortium, what does that mean for your clients? Well, it means you can add a host of benefits. Benefits vary from brand to brand and even property to property; however, here are some common benefits that agents access through travel consortia:

  • Complimentary Upgrade Upon Arrival, If Available*

  • $100 Resort Credit Upon Arrival*

  • Welcome Amenity Upon Arrival*

  • Complimentary Breakfast For Two Daily*

  • Early Check-in / Late Check-Out, If Available*

These perks are similar to those offered by American Express. However, American Express only has access to select hotels. By joining a consortium or a host agency that is already affiliated with a travel consortium, you will have access to benefits for a larger selection of properties than even American Express, giving you a competitive edge and more consistent experience.

Our Travel Consortium: Travel Leaders

Our travel consortium of choice is Travel Leaders Network. Travel Leaders Network is a large consortium that represents the collective buying power of over 6,800 travel agencies. It provides various benefits for a wide range of travel vendors. Here is a breakdown of the offerings provided by Travel Leaders:

SELECT Hotels & Resorts

This program consists of premium properties from around the world. It offers VIP privileges to create memorable and authentic experiences for clients. These privileges include a special amenity worth $100, complimentary daily breakfast for two, free Wi-Fi, early check-in/late check-out, and room upgrades based on availability. Moreover, all advisor commissions are guaranteed to be 10% or higher.


This collection comprises over 2,800 private villas in more than 50 destinations across Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. SELECT Villas allows the agency to offer clients exclusive, unique, and customized experiences at a great value. The agency receives a guaranteed 12% commission and other benefits for both themselves and their clients.

Worldwide Hotel Program

This comprehensive and price-competitive hotel program offers clients the Best Available Rates at over 44,000 hotel brands and independent properties worldwide. Clients also enjoy flexibility with pre-payment, access to Last Room Availability, and additional amenities such as complimentary breakfast, parking, or Wi-Fi. Clients can book these three to five-star rated properties through GDS, pinSIGHT, or by contacting the property directly.

Enhanced Commissions

This exclusive offer is available to Travel Leaders Group advisors to maximize their earnings with higher commissions at participating properties. Commissions range from 15% to 25% on rooms and suites, in addition to the top-tier levels agencies already receive as Travel Leaders Group members. All properties offering Enhanced Commission are also part of the SELECT and/or Worldwide programs, allowing the agency to optimize both their earnings and their clients' benefits when making bookings.

In summary, travel consortia play a vital role in the travel industry by bringing together agencies, host agencies, and advisors to enhance their collective presence and benefits. They provide support in various areas and offer opportunities for growth and success.

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