Michael Batt is the Founder and Chairman of Travel Leaders Group, a North American travel company that generates gross travel sales approaching $21 billion annually and directly employs over 1,000 staff managing operations of more than 7,000 company-owned, franchised and affiliated travel agencies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, Ireland and Australia. Today, Travel Leaders Group has over 40,000 travel agents working directly for the organization or under one of its brands.
Prior to his role as Founder and Chairman of Travel Leaders Group, Mr. Batt served as an executive with Carlson Companies where he was President of Carlson Leisure Group (CLG) and a Board member of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. He joined Carlson in 1996 and was responsible for leisure travel operations in the US for 11 years as well as Carlson’s investment in the Thomas Cook Group in the UK. Under Mr. Batt, CLG grew significantly with sales growing from a combined $2 billion in 1996 to over $5 billion in 2007. In January 2008, Mr. Batt led a management buyout of Carlson Leisure Group, and in April 2008, secured investment support and partnership with One Equity Partners – the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase. The company has subsequently merged with Tzell Travel (ranked number one in Business Travel news ranking of US business travel agencies), and acquired Nexion (now a group of over 3,700 home-based agents), and Vacation.com – the largest leisure US travel seller with over 5,500 travel agency members. Most recently, Travel Leaders Group completed the merger of Tzell with Protravel International, Inc. in December 2012.
Before joining Carlson, Mr. Batt was Executive Vice President, sales and marketing for Alamo Rent-A-Car. He was responsible for worldwide sales and marketing for the car rental giant. Prior to Alamo, Mr. Batt served as Marketing Director (and member of the executive board) of British Airways where he was responsible for all advertising and promotion, product development and delivery of service standards (1987-1994). Mr. Batt started his business career working for M and M Mars, enjoying a 12-year tenure with the company in various sales and brand management positions working in the United Kingdom, Spain, Africa and the Middle East.
Mr. Batt was inducted into the British Travel Industry Hall of Fame in 2014. Mr. Batt is a native of the United Kingdom and holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Materials from the University of Wales.