Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked some of the brilliant women working at TTC to talk about their careers, what they have achieved and any advice they would give women in similar roles.

We had so many great responses, take a look at more replies here. 

If you would like to know more about International Women’s Day, please visit: www.internationalwomensday.com.

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Financing a travel business & 2021 trends: TTC sponsor ABTA event

We are delighted to sponsor ABTA’s Travel Finance Conference for the fifth year running. Our directors, Martin Alcock and Adam Pennyfather will be taking to the virtual stage to explore the key indicators for companies as the sector begins to recover and financing a travel business in 2021. 

Ahead of the event, Martin reflects on the last Travel Finance Conference and looks at the challenges facing the industry this year. 

I have fond memories of last year’s ABTA Travel Finance Conference. This is mainly because it was my last time in a room with more than six people. 

The conference was held on March 11th. COVID had landed in the UK and panic was rising. Italy had just gone into a full-scale lockdown and speculation was mounting that we’d be next. The whole event nearly didn’t happen, after several sponsors, speakers and delegates pulled out at the last minute. Even the host cancelled a few days beforehand and the alternative venue turned out to be the former offices of Thomas Cook. A fact which only added to the sense of foreboding.  

Despite the ominous signs, I often recall that day’s conversations with a smile. They seem so innocent and naive when viewed with the battle-hardened hindsight of the past twelve months. “This Easter disruption isn’t ideal but it’ll all be over by Summer” we’d confidently assert, over one of those awkward stand-up lunches where you have to balance your egg and cress sandwich on top of your glass of orange juice. 

It’s coming up to a year since that landmark event, but the outlook is more uncertain than ever. 

We’re housebound and homeschooling. The air corridors are sealed and UK arrivals must quarantine, possibly for 10 days in an airport hotel. Given that bleak backdrop, it’s hardly surprising there are few signs of life in the pivotal January booking period. Most operators we speak to are below 20% of their usual January levels. 

Trading out of this mess will be a challenge. Battered balance sheets are struggling to cope with a year of cash outflows and asset write-downs. Unsustainable liabilities have built up as a result of Refund Credit Notes, deferred tax payments, holiday pay accruals and other assorted nasties. 

Hibernating was a relatively simple equation, at least on paper. Costs were cut, power turned off, and doors locked. Starting up again is far more complicated. Timing is critical. Bringing back teams, opening up sites, turning on marketing all burn cash without any guarantees of a return.  

Regulators, merchant acquirers, insurers and other stakeholders are increasingly jittery that their exposures will get worse before they get better. Their security demands are piling further pressure. For some companies, it will be limits imposed by such stakeholders that inhibit their recovery.

Yet, the long term fundamentals are firmly in our favour. Demand for travel is without question. A spike in UK savings ratios suggests there is money burning holes in pockets. And my god do we all need to get out of the house.  

This year’s ABTA Travel Finance Conference is a chance to come together and figure out how we move forward as an industry. We’ll be sharing our view of the latest trends, and examining the impact that recent developments are having on the sector.  We might not have all the answers by then, and the egg and cress will be strictly B.Y.O this year. Nevertheless, I hope you can join us.

Written by Martin Alcock, TTC Director.

You can view the full Travel Finance Conference agenda and register here.

As sponsors of the event, we are delighted to be able to offer you a 20% discount to attend. Please get in touch and we’ll share the code with you!

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TTC presenting at the AITO AGM

Looking forward to attending the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) Annual General Meeting this week.

TTC’s Matt Purser will be reviewing the current state of play, hosting a Q & A as well as a panel session with travel experts from Legal, Merchant Services, Insurance and Accounting.

Lots to talk about!

In the news: Travel Trade Consultancy featured in The Times

At the 2019 Barclays Travel Forum, TTC Director Martin Alcock joined Paul Carter, CEO of Hotelplan and Petar Cetnik, Senior Risk Manager at Barclaycard to discuss how the travel industry was coping with the Brexit delay. The session later featured in The Times newspaper.

Travel companies are offering discounts to secure bookings in a soft market, but according to industry experts, this will have an impact on their profits later in the year.

Martin Alcock said virtually all travel companies had been struggling and thinking of ways to increase sales.

“Businesses representing all of the sectors are publicly very upbeat but privately they are all saying it is really difficult.

“Even the ultra-luxury companies are saying they are flat. We may well see these bookings come back, but at what price?”

These companies are expected to feel the impact of discounting later on in the year according to Alcock, and this is because they are offering discounts and low to zero deposits.

Alcock describes this as a ‘short term sticking plaster’. Zero deposits are expensive to fund and if the customers cancel, this is a big risk for companies.

“That, to me, dips into the sub-prime credit market and that’s a very brave place to be in the current climate,” he said.

Paul Carter said companies had hoped for a ‘ketchup’ effect of bookings coming in quickly after the Brexit delay, but this had not materialised.

“June discounting is around 30-40% in the market,” he said. “I’m more optimistic in July but we’ve still got some way to go in July and August.

“Mainland Europe has struggled. But we’ve made it up in other areas.”

Additionally, Carter said the industry was hoping for poor weather over the summer to encourage people to travel abroad.

“If it’s a hot summer, it will be really difficult for everyone.”

Alcock said another challenge for the industry had been the cost of advertising on Google, following a fall in the number of people using the search engine to look for holidays.

The drop in searches means travel companies are having to pay up to 20% more than last year to attract a similar number of holidaymakers.

Similarly, the travel industry has experienced the law preventing companies from charging a fee to customers who book on credit cards. This used to be a money-spinner for some firms. The change has led to more consumers buying holidays on credit, which in turn has increased the liability for credit card firms in the event of a failure.

Pete Chetnik, said he was unable to comment on individual companies, but pointed out that getting the balance right was challenging.

“It’s important to remember that it’s not our money, it’s the clients’ money.”


You can read more about The 2019 Barclays Travel Forum here.

TTC to discuss the 2019 travel trends at ABTA Travel Matters

ABTA’s tenth anniversary Travel Matters conference will take place on the morning of 26 June 2019 at One Great George Street in Westminster, central London.

Travel Matters is the travel and tourism industry’s forum for debating the political and policy issues that matter most to our sector. The theme this year is A Vision for the Next Decade.

TTC Director Martin Alcock present a session looking at economic and geopolitical trends and the impact on consumer confidence and the travel marketplace.

You can read more about the event and register here.

TTC to appear at the Barclays Travel Forum 2019

We’re looking forward to taking part in this year’s Barclays Travel Forum on 22 May 2019 at One Great George Street in Westminster.

Now in its 14th year, it is firmly established as one of the key events in the travel calendar, bringing together senior leaders and industry experts to discuss a diverse range of topical issues.

TTC Director Martin Alcock will be on stage, discussing the post-Brexit delay landscape with host, journalist and seasoned travel sector expert, Jeremy Skidmore, Paul Carter, CEO, Hotelplan UK and Pete Cetnik, Senior Risk Manager, Barclaycard.


Other sessions will include:

A Global Economic Update – Alistair Pritchard, Partner & Head of Travel, Deloitte LLP

Getting the best out of your team – Robert Yeowart, CEO of Formula 1 team Sport Pesa Racing Point and John Bevan, CEO, dnata Travel Europe

Treating everyone fairly – are businesses getting it right? Panel discussion with Farina Azam, Partner, Travlaw LLP, Wendy Papworth, Global Diversity & Inclusion Director, Barclays and Lindsay Garvey-Jones, National Retail Manager, Holiday Extras

The business travel market outlook –  Simone Buckley, CEO, Fello

Technology in Travel; the next big trends – Tom Valentine, Co-Founder and Marketplaces CEO, Secret Escapes and Andy Washington, SVP Travel, Culture Trip

The future for holiday hot spots; the threats and solutions for resorts – Nikki White-Wright, Director of Destinations & Sustainability, ABTA Ltd and Tracey Poggio, Chairman, A.N.T.O.R

TTC sponsor ABTA’s 2019 Merger & Acquisitions seminar

We’re delighted to be sponsoring the 2019 ABTA M&A Seminar

TTC will be presenting 2 sessions on the day:

– The current M&A climate and trends in the travel industry

– Considerations when transferring a business

You can find out more information here. Hope to see you there!

About the event

What are the key issues that are expected to drive M&A activity this year? Hear finance experts discuss trends in the travel industry – understand the current deal environment and outlook for the M&A market.

If you are looking to acquire a business, are considering consolidation, or thinking about selling, hear tips on how and where to start the process. Understand the options for investment; trade sales, partial sale to private equity, acquisitions and the key factors for consideration.

Certain sectors of the travel market have been particularly active with deals recently, this seminar will explore these sectors and the reasons why investors are focusing their attention here. There will be a focus on what makes your business attractive and expert speakers will discuss why mergers and acquisitions fail including the steps you can take to prevent this.

2019 ABTA Finance Conference slides

TTC’s Martin Alcock, was on stage at the 2019 ABTA Finance Conference, discussing some of the current issues facing the outbound travel sector, and highlighting 3 current trends:

– Bookings and consumer appetite in light of Brexit and economic uncertainty;

– The rising cost of customer acquisition; and

– The ongoing consolidation of the European airline sector.

You can view and download a copy of the slides to the presentation here.

201902 ABTA Finance Conference – TTC Slides

TTC to host M&A workshop at the 2018 ABTA Travel Convention

Travel businesses are selling like hotcakes at the moment.

Whilst other parts of the consumer and leisure sector are looking decidedly sickly, travel has remained resilient and has been attracting frenzied investment interest as a result.  We’ve already seen many high profile transactions complete in 2018, including Travel Counsellors, Love Holidays, Barrhead, Great Rail Journeys, Neilson Active Venture, Wyndhams and Classic Collection.

Conditions remain very favourable, with more in the pipeline and seemingly no let-up in appetite from investors.

With this backdrop, we’re delighted to announce we will be hosting a Mergers & Acquisitions Workshop at The ABTA Travel Convention in Seville on 9 October 2018.

The Workshop will focus on M&A trends in travel, and the key drivers behind the travel M&A market.

We’ll be sharing insights gained from advising on more than 20 transactions in the travel sector, including:

-why travel is attractive right now, and what investors are looking for;

-tips and advice on the process of executing a transaction;

-what can go wrong, and how to avoid the pitfalls;

-what it feels like to go through a transaction,

and much more. 

The M&A Workshop will be jointly hosted by Travel Trade Consultancy and Grant Thornton and will be moderated by Ian Taylor, of Travel Weekly.

We’ll also be hearing from Craig Burton, MD of Ski Solutions and Richard Singer, CEO of Icelolly.com

TTC present at ABTA conference in The Azores

10 October 2017

TTC presented their latest news and travel industry insights at the ABTA Travel Convention in Ponta Delgada, The Azores. Director, Martin Alcock led a session on Consumer Trends speaking alongside PwC’s head of Hospitality and Leisure, David Trunkfield and ABTA’s Head of Brand Development, Victoria Bacon.