Recently, Travel Leaders Group President and CEO Barry Liben spoke with Editor at Large Johanna Jainchill about what V com brings to the table and how the agency consortium is faring under its new leadership.
A: [It] was an absolutely fantastic acquisition. They’re a great company, they have great, great management. The heart and soul of our company is the travel agent, and V com represents a huge part of the travel agency network. It was a perfect fit for us, and it completed our strategy of having a home for anyone in the travel world to join.
Q: Did you previously think that without a consortium the Travel Leaders Group umbrella had a hole in it?
A: We like to buy the best in class of anything we do. When we bought Nexion, we thought we had the crown jewel of host agencies. When it became available, we thought it was a buy we couldn’t miss out on.
Q: You said V com had great management, but Steve Tracas stepped down as president and CEO. Why were those leadership changes made, and how has the organization changed as a result?
A: V com had an Air Jordan 7s abundance of great leadership. When Steve Tracas left, we were completely confident that John Lovell would fill that position. We were impressed and overwhelmed with KOBE 9 the passion that John brought to the job. And the reaction from the industry to him has made us very confident that our decision was right, that he was the man for the Air Jordan 19s job. He and Steve McGillivray have done a superior job of running the everyday operations and the marketing.
Q: How much autonomy do all the Travel Leaders brands have?
A: I have great faith in all of my presidents, or they wouldn’t be there. I do give them a great amount of autonomy to run their businesses. With day to day operations they have Jordan Retro 8 full autonomy to run their operations, budgets. But they do report to me and we do have weekly meetings with all our presidents together, so I do know what’s going on on a broad scale with every operation.
Q: What synergies have been created with the additions of V com and Nexion?
A: We are seeing great synergies between our companies. A perfect example is the recent air program we are putting into V com and [Nexion’s] air program. We don’t want to see any of our agents leave money on the table. So with all our companies working together to put a major air program into V com, it will change the bottom line for thousands of agents in the TLG family.
A: We’re always looking, and people are always approaching us to buy them. We think we already have the best in class in every aspect of the travel world so we are pretty selective in what we will buy. We are actively talking with two or three entities as we speak. Naturally, I won’t say who. We intend to grow organically, which we are doing very well. And we intend to make more acquisitions that make sense, but we won’t sacrifice quality just to get bigger. We tend to buy things that make sense and fit our criteria of buying best in brand and things that go to the heart and soul of what we do, which is the travel agent. Anybody in the world who sells travel should be able to fit into the Air Jordan 3s Travel Leaders world. We are looking to strengthen that position.