Manchester / Corporate Travel

Head of Corporate Supplier Partnerships and Distribution

Founded over 26 years ago, Travel Counsellors is the UK’s leading travel marketplace for self-employed travel agents with a growing international presence. Private equity backed by Vitruvian Partners, well-known for backing exceptional entrepreneurs and management teams in companies creating sustainable high growth or strategic value through change and transformation, our disruptive model enables over 1,800 independent travel entrepreneurs to create home-based travel businesses using a high touch, service-led approach to target a wide range of leisure and corporate travel customers.

With our own sophisticated and proprietary technology (Phenix), 2019 was the Company’s 17th year of consecutive double-digit growth with a total transaction value (TTV) surpassing £650million for the first time and with a UK leisure travel market valued at £6bn, we believe our aim to ‘scale with intimacy’ will help drive our mission to transform the travel experiences for our customers and the lives of our Travel Counsellors, colleagues and communities.

Multi-award winning as a result of a business model that is powered by our people and unique sense of community, we’re more confident than ever that our business will be even more valuable in a post-pandemic world as we look to capitalise on a consumer group looking for personal service from a travel provider whilst offering a life-changing experience for our global Travel Counsellors community.

Role Summary

We’re looking for an experienced Corporate Buyer or Supplier Relations Manager to develop, strengthen and lead our commercial strategy across the business to ensure profitable business growth is accelerated and to act as an ambassador for Corporate supplier relationships on behalf of our special business.

Passionate about all things travel and an expert in your field, this role will be responsible for our airline distribution strategy, New Distribution Capability and managing our commercial contractual commitments for our business whilst building upon the exceptional relationships we already have in place with our suppliers and partners in the industry.

This role forms an essential link between our business, our suppliers and our Travel Counsellors, maintaining relationships with a real commercial focus to ensure that we get the best quality product purchased at the best price and in line with the high expectations we have at Travel Counsellors.

Welcoming applications from anywhere across the UK, this role will be based at our Manchester Support Office once we’re back up and running again with the expectation of being in Manchester at least 3 days a week to build relationships with our Support Team and proactively lead from the front, so you’ll need to be comfortable with being visible at our Venus Support Office on a regular basis.

This is a fantastic opportunity for an experienced Commercial professional to think big and deliver industry leading commercial and sourcing strategies that will make a significant difference to the lives of our Travel Counsellors, supporting them to grow and develop their businesses whilst providing a best-in-class approach to supplier relations.

Working collaboratively with key stakeholders, particularly in our Commercial and Corporate Travel teams, you will lead the charge in identifying new suppliers spanning across the Corporate travel areas of the business as well as taking ownership for driving the Corporate Travel buying strategy, including both land and air components and ensuring profitable growth and product innovation is at the forefront of everything we do and in line with legal, commercial and health and safety requirements in the relevant markets.

You have to be comfortable with working strategically but being able to deliver operationally too, as with a small team, it’s all hands-on deck. This role isn’t for empire builders, but for those willing to roll their sleeves up and design a world-class commercial and supplier approach that will take our business, and your career to the next level.

You will be innovative, entrepreneurial and keen to disrupt the norm, a forward-thinking individual who can step up and shine whilst working collaboratively with our people and demonstrating the exceptional level of care towards our Travel Counsellors we expect from our colleagues.

Additional responsibilities include:

  • Develop a commercial content distribution strategy to include NDC
  • Own, manage, optimize and monitor GDS partnerships and agreements
  • Build on existing key relationships and establish new ones with business partners including airlines, hotels and hotel groups and other key partnerships, with an aim to develop long term, commercial and advantageous relationships
  • Use your commercial acumen to recognise the need for ad hoc partnership opportunities in line with the needs of the business
  • Forecasting and tracking all commercial deals against target, monitoring success and identifying challenges
  • Ensuring product quality is maintained throughout the customer journey
  • Conducting market research, analysis and producing business plans/recommendations
  • Representing the company externally e.g. at networking events, conferences and exhibitions to enhance and strengthen the company’s profile and optimise all business development opportunities
  • Product analysis and recommendation across different markets to drive volume and margin growth
  • Own the supplier onboarding process including negotiate pricing and terms of an agreement as well as executing contracts with suppliers
  • Collaborate with suppliers to improve their processes and drive enhanced performance
  • Providing proactive thought leadership input and take accountability for delivering agreed business initiatives to maximise value or minimise risk in its supply base, aligning with business strategic objectives.

Skills & Experience Required

We’re passionate about the brilliant business we’ve built up over the last 26 years and you’ll share the same enthusiasm for our values and special culture that we’re famous for across the industry. In terms of technical experience, we’re looking for the following:

  • You will have prior experience in strategic sourcing, internal/external relationship building, managing partner and supplier relationships (including performance management, risk management, governance, contract and pricing negotiations) – it is essential that this has been gained within the Travel / Tour Operator industry
  • You’ll have experience of driving sustainable business and market share growth in the Corporate travel market.
  • You will have extensive destination / product knowledge wholesale and hotel stock and outstanding commercial and contracting experience across a broad product range.
  • You will have a network of previous / existing contacts within the aviation and hotel industry
  • You will have experience of working in an entrepreneurial, matrix style organisation
  • You will ideally have experience in team leadership and people development
  • You will have a proven track record in delivering transformational results with in-depth knowledge and experience on how to drive additional value and revenue.
  • You will have an excellent understanding of contractual structures, legal terms and conditions and commercial risk management, optimising the contract and supplier portfolio to achieve cost savings, reduce complexity and minimise contractual risk.
  • You will have a proven track record with experience of best practice procurement processes and evidence of maximising the value and deriving the cost savings.
  • You are results driven with strong delivery experience.
  • You will have strong Digital knowledge with proven experience of working within a digitally driven business
  • You have the ability to prioritise workload against business/project requirements and key customers.

In addition to this, the successful candidate will also possess the following key skills and attributes:

  • Passionate about putting customers at the heart of everything you do and keen to build relationships with our Travel Counsellors
  • A natural communicator and collaborator that quickly gains the trust and engagement of our leaders, Senior managers and commercial partners to deliver results, quickly but effectively
  • A strategic thinker with experience in translating the objectives of a business into a clear commercial and product strategy, with the gravitas to successfully embed new initiatives and partnerships at Travel Counsellors
  • Able to work in an agile, high pressured environment, comfortable with ambiguity and flexing constantly in a rapidly changing landscape and can respond quickly to stakeholder needs
  • Experience in managing and influencing multiple stakeholders, globally, and comfortable working with C-level executives
  • Commercially smart and motivated to hit goals and targets, thriving under the challenges that are presented in front of you
  • Comfortable and confident using data to help drive performance and decision making as well as being able to pull together quotes and tenders as and when required
  • A team player with significant experience working at this level, ideally within a fast paced, travel business that significantly leverages the use of technology to drive their business forward
  • An excellent communicator and influencer, comfortable working with internal and external stakeholders with a charismatic nature that demonstrates your confidence in your knowledge and ability in representing our business

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