PALM SPRINGS, CA — Ensemble Travel Group, a major player in the travel consortia sector in both the U.S. and Canada, will be expanding to Australia and New Zealand.
Co-president Lindsay Pearlman announced the strategic move during the opening session of the organization’s annual conference in Palm Springs attended by more than 900 members, partners, and guests.
According to Pearlman, the expansion to Australia/New Zealand was part of a three-year business plan and a natural progression for the member-owned cooperative. “If you look at Ensemble from an organization perspective, first as a U.S. player in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, then growing into Canada in the ‘80s, and finally as a true North American cooperative two or three years ago, our operating platform has become an ideal model for exporting,” said Pearlman, a seven-year veteran of Ensemble who, along with Libbie Rice, was appointed co-president in January 2011 when the organization launched its cross-border strategy.
“Couple Ensemble’s ‘nimbleness’ with what is happening in Australia/New Zealand from a travel agency consortia angle, and everything just seems to be in sync for our international expansion. It is all about being in the right place at the right time, and most importantly with the right business model and people, and Ensemble Australia/New Zealand is born.”
Heading up the Ensemble expansion in Australia/New Zealand is new senior vice president and general manager Trish Shepherd, a 30-year travel industry veteran with a successful track record in partnerships and strategic alliances. The majority of her career has been with American Express Travel Network where most notably she served as the regional director and headed up the franchise model development and significant expansion through Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.
“There is an incredible opportunity within the Australian/New Zealand market to create a new sort of program, one which puts the needs of its members at the heart of the relationship,” said Shepherd. “Travel agency owners want a relationship that is a true partnership, and that is what we are going to create with Ensemble.”
Ensemble’s plan is to assemble top agency groups and independent owners in Australia/New Zealand that are forward-thinkers and looking for real value for their investment. For travel agency owners, that means transparency, business development consultancy and marketing know-how and support, with a focus on the individual agency’s brand.
“We want members who are hungry to be the market leaders, and want to achieve a higher level of success in this industry. Ensemble members tend to be stronger and outperform their peers in Canada and the U.S. We want to bring that same opportunity to Australia/New Zealand,” Shepherd said.
Ensemble will provide members access to its international network and buying power, plus a rich offering of business and marketing know-how, and an array of product beginning with air, hotel and On Location.