Building upon InteleTravel's 30-plus years of experience and proven infrastructure which is approaching $1 billion in sales this year, the acquisition allows both companies to execute a new strategy – driven by the trend toward blended travel – to optimize leisure and business travel resources by combining purchasing and negotiating power, talent, and technology.
Working closely with InteleTravel President James Ferrara, longtime Hickory President Chris Dane will lead the focus on emerging market opportunities and initiatives for systemwide advancement, including a version of the new Hickory 365 staffing solution which will provide leisure fulfillment for Hickory members, and a new Hickory business travel education and certification program for InteleTravel advisors. Hickory will continue operating as its own brand newly powered as a wholly owned unit of InteleTravel. Over 100 new jobs are projected to be created over the course of the integration of the companies and development of the new programs.
“Merging leisure and corporate travel businesses at a time when travel is booming and the lines for both sectors are becoming more blurred positions us for greater growth and benefits for our members, advisors and preferred suppliers,” said Dane. “We have a vision for a consortium that leads into the next decades with a modern view of business and leisure travelers, and advantages, technology, and supply for our members to satisfy those needs. InteleTravel’s resources and reach will help us do that.”
The country’s largest retailer for many leading cruise and tour operator/wholesaler vacation brands, InteleTravel has developed its own booking technology for all verticals and packaging tools including cruises, discount leisure hotel rates, short-term rentals, low-cost air carriers, and activities/entertainment. The company also boasts market-leading product training, automated learning systems for advisors, and large-scale events. Powered by InteleTravel, Hickory will support members for their leisure demand in one convenient, all-encompassing program, strengthening Hickory with as much as 30% more volume from members, and a completely new source of unmanaged business travel sales from over 90,000 InteleTravel advisors. That unique InteleTravel distribution network in North America, the U.K. and soon in the European Union will also be a source of leads for Hickory members of larger managed corporate account referrals and meeting and event business.
Opening an entirely new market segment for InteleTravel advisors, Hickory will expand InteleTravel advisor’s earning opportunities with business travel-focused education, negotiated travel products and services through Hickory’s air portfolio, preferred hotel and amenities programs, expense management tools, and ancillary supplier partnerships.
“Business and corporate travel rebounded faster than predicted following the pandemic, and the leisure travel market continues to boom into 2023,” said Ferrara. “However, the pandemic, new technologies and trends have changed travelers, which requires new solutions.”
Ferrara added, “With the new blending of leisure and business travel, the idea of separate consortia for these markets is now outdated. This merger creates a single source of advantages and support for all travelers and the professionals who serve them – the consortium of the future.”
Established in 1991, InteleTravel is the world’s oldest and largest host travel agency with a growing network of more than 90,000 independent home-based advisors across the U.S., U.K., Caribbean, Mexico, and Republic of Ireland (as of February 2023). The company is recognized by every major travel supplier, including every resort and hotel brand, cruise line, vacation company, car rental agency, and tour operator in the world. Over the course of its 30-plus-year history, InteleTravel has become known for its leadership in travel sales, robust preferred supplier relationships, groundbreaking agent education programs, and innovative travel technology. For more information, visit www.InteleTravel.com.
About Hickory Global Partners
Founded over 40 years ago, Hickory Global Partners is an industry-leading global alliance for corporate travel agencies, corporate travel departments (CTDs) and corporations that delivers unparalleled negotiated discounts and commissions, resources, support, and value that significantly benefits its members, and ultimately, their clients. Hickory Global Partners bridges the gap between members and suppliers and raises the bar on what being a global corporate travel alliance is all about. Its visionary hotel program, robust air program, one-of-a kind ground transportation program, comprehensive ancillary portfolio and cutting-edge technology and tools, make Hickory Global Partners an important strategic partner in the corporate travel industry. For more information, visit www.hickoryglobalpartners.com.
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