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Background to Consort Travel Group.

The Consort Travel Group is a consortium of 18 Independent professional travel agents with 31 shops throughout Northern Ireland.

Consort was formed in 1985 when a group of N. Ireland Independent Travel Agents banded together to find ways of enhancing the professionalism of the members, providing a better service to the travelling public and structured training for travel agency staff.

All Consort shops are members of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and are approved for the sale of air tickets by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). A number of group members also hold an Air Travel Operator's License (ATOL).   The Consort Shops are also members of the Advantage group of Independent Travel Agents.

In 1994 and 1995 many of the independent retail travel agents in the Province were acquired by the leading UK multiple travel agents and at that time the future of the independent retailer seemed very bleak. However, the Consort Group under Chairperson Kathleen Davidson (Greer's Travel Office, Ballymena) embarked on an expansion plan, recruited a number of new members and succeeded in fighting off the threat of the multiples. The increased buying power of the group means that Consort shops are now able to offer the public the same discounts on package holidays, flights, ferries and many other items, which the multiples travel agents offer.

All Consort shops are members of Advantage the UK's largest independent travel consortium.

The main selling point of the Consort Travel Agent is the level of service each shop offers the public; the staff are more experienced and are able to spend more time with the customer, many shops have staff with 20 years or more experience and of course, many shops are managed by the Owner which ensures that the public are getting first class service. The Consort Agent is also able to offer the public a wide range of products, as they are not aligned to any one supplier.

Technology has played a big part in the development of the travel business over the last 20 years and all Consort offices have access to a Computerised Reservation System (CRS) to give the public last seat availability on air, ferry and tour operator's services. Most of the Consort members also use a Computerised Back Office system to keep client records and handle their accounts. These tools enable members to offer the public a more efficient service and help with marketing by direct mail and on the Internet.

All Consort offices will book low cost airlines on the Internet for customers who do not have Internet access or a Credit Card or who may want assistance with their air booking.    They can also help with Hotel and Car Hire reservations in the U K and Abroad.

The Consort group are top sellers for many of the well-known Tour Operators including Thomas Cook, Falcon, Thomson, etc. Many of the shops are specialists in the cruise market and the group is also one of the top sellers of Royal Caribbean International. A number of Consort shops also specialise in Skiing holidays. A growing number of travellers are now moving away from the Package Holidays offered by the main tour operators and the Consort agent is now seeing growth in tailor made holidays travelling further afield where each holiday is planned according to the individual travellerís wishes.   All Consort shops have a consultant who is an expert on arranging weddings in more exotic destinations.

A number of members of the Group have been winners of the Northern Ireland Travel Agent of the Year Award since its inception some twenty years ago.

Travel Insurance is very important to travellers today and Consort Members will offer Single Journey and Annual Multi Trip Travel Insurance with reputable Insurance companies and will give assistance to customers in the event of a claim. 

The current Chairman of the Consort Travel Group is Terry Murphy of Terra Travel in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

Contact the Consort Travel Group