Sixth Scott LLC, the company that purchased the travel assets of YTB International, is launching a new network called First Travel Alliance. Jeff Scott, president and CEO of First Travel, said it will operate a traditional model of home-based online agents and independent contractors.
“I’ve watched the home-based model continue to build year after year after year,” Scott said. “First Travel Alliance was created to take advantage of that growth on the home-based side. It will be a traditional model in that agents will be booking travel through First Travel Alliance and earning commissions through that sale.”
YTB Travel was considered by some to operate as a “card mill” or multi-level marketer.
“We don’t do travel ID cards,” Scott said. “I’ve been around 35 years and my partners have been around 35 years. We have set up a network of relationships with vendors all across the country. We are a traditional travel business and will continue to be a traditional travel business. You won’t be able to walk in and get a card that says you’re a travel agent today.”
Scott said First Travel will operate as a combination of a host agency and an online agency but plans to continue to sign up more home-based agents. The company also plans to grow through mergers and acquisitions of brick-and-mortar agencies.
First Travel now has a network of 14,500 agents formerly with YTB as well as 14 staff members. More than 1,500 agents have expressed interest in becoming independent contractors, he said.
In March, First Travel Alliance completed its acquisition of the travel assets of YTB International Inc., which included the technology, computer systems, servers and training programs. Sixth Scott was formed by Scott and business partners Richard and Ryan Nord as a private equity concern that brings management services, proprietary vendor deals, and strategic planning expertise to its ventures. Scott has more than 30 years of experience in the travel industry, including such firms as Hickory Travel Systems, TraveLeaders, Cendant and Worldspan. Richard Nord has a more than 30-year background in finance, business development, mergers and acquisitions, and he held ownership positions in Beehive Travel, Carlson Wagonlit, and American Express’s affiliated network of agencies.