Uniglobe's top nine U.S. franchisees and a
division of the franchisor quietly merged late last month to create
a single $200 million corporation called Uniglobe Travel Partners.
president is Marie Magliano, who has been the owner of Uniglobe at
Best Travel, based in Mount Arlington, N.J., and a franchisee for
She said the
merger would enable the partners to compete for larger corporate
accounts and to expand on the leisure side, as well. The newly
formed Uniglobe Travel Partners has a 65/35 corporate-leisure
Under its new
aggregate structure, Uniglobe Travel Partners would have ranked No.
36 in Travel Weekly's 2006 Power List, falling between
Gateway and Travel Store.
Magliano said the
organization would benefit from each owner's unique talents and
from the fact that each of the shareholders would be in the
communities where they started their businesses. This will provide
"local expertise and flexibility that are simply not available with
major conglomerates," she said.
One partner has
been a unit of Uniglobe Travel USA, dubbed the Central Processing
Unit, or CPU. It provides hosting services to home-based and
non-ARC agencies, and its name will be changed to Uniglobe Connect,
said U. Gary Charlwood, chairman of Uniglobe Travel USA. On
average, the other nine partners have been Uniglobe franchisees for
15 years, he said.
As a single
franchisee selling $200 million a year, the new UTP "boosts the
attractiveness of this organization to suppliers," which will
benefit all Uniglobe franchisees regardless of size, Charlwood
said. In addition, he said other locations might benefit from some
of the new corporate business by networking with UTP in markets
where the larger agency does not have offices.
Uniglobe's formula that says no customer should account for more
than 10% of an agency's business, he said the new UTP now could
pursue accounts in the $20 million range.
described as the "inaugural president." She said the business might
have a rotating presidency after the fashion of law firms. "After
two years, we will re-evaluate this," she said.
Even if the post
rotated, Charlwood said, the home office probably would not move
from Magliano's agency in Mount Arlington, N.J. However, he added
that "we'd all be delighted if she did this for 20
officers are Mary Hanigan, corporate secretary at Uniglobe Spectrum
in Lake Oswego, Ore., and Doug Carpenter, treasurer and CFO at
Uniglobe Wings Travel in Blue Bell, Pa.
has been deeply involved in the wider world of franchising,
emphasized the uniqueness of the UTP structure, which creates 10
equal partners, as distinct from the more typical model in which
one business buys up competing businesses.
Magliano said the
partners, when trying to deal with the aftermath of the 9/11
terrorist attacks, started meeting informally "to benchmark and
share best practices." In the process, she said they "became
friends and respected each other's talents."
Though a number
of details have yet to be finalized, UTP is already functioning as
a single company. The outlets will take on the new Uniglobe Travel
Partners name once press announcements are made and after advising
clients, Magliano said.
Looking to the
future, she said UTP wanted to expand into new markets. It may take
on additional partners, but "access will be through the franchise
system," Charlwood said. Prospective new shareholders would have to
be "sizeable" to match existing partners and would have to first
work with UTP within the franchise framework. They would buy in as
UTP partners, he said.
overseas is a possibility, Charlwood said. "We need to get this on
the road first," he added.
organization already has networking partners in London, Madrid,
Paris and Shanghai, he said.
UTP counts 120
full-time employees and 26 part-timers.
To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail
to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].