New Advantage web platform to be unveiled at conference

Advantage will announce details of a new online platform for members as it seeks to help them capitalise on a good start to the year.

The agency consortium’s annual overseas conference starts tomorrow (Thursday) with 465 agents and commercial partners expected to travel to Dubai for the four-day event.

Speaking ahead of the event, managing director Julia Lo Bue-Said (pictured) revealed members would be told the new platform, developed with software developer Zolv, will launch in August.

The technology will help agents establish a presence online with a focus on unique content, blogs and social media, and will encourage agents to better reflect their own company’s personality on the web.

Advantage will make content available for agents to use on their own sites, but Bue-Said warned members this alone would not be sufficient.

“We have to be honest,” she said. “If an agent wants a website, we can deliver one, but we are not going to make it work unless the member invests time themselves.”

According to Bue-Said, margins are up for agent members as they become more commercially savvy and focus on product on which they can earn more.

This comes after the consortium introduced a new grading system for suppliers based on the full support package they offer.

Bue-Said said the process of putting in stringent Service Level Agreements, and accrediting suppliers as either commended, highly commended or not rated, had thrown up some surprises.

“The important thing is understanding from both sides what we expect out of the partnership. We genuinely do not just have commercial agreements; we look at the whole package,” she said. “The idea is not to just put a bad mark against someone but to work with the operator to try to change the way they do business.

“Agents are having to refocus on product that’s worth selling. It’s about the quality of the business, and agents are becoming more commercially aware.”

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