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Published on Friday, May 3, 2019

InteleTravel boss: 'We're not disruptors'




Homeworking group InteleTravel has been inundated with interest from suppliers since its launch in the UK, particularly following its acceptance as an ABTA member in March.



Speaking to TravelMole this week, (see video above), president James Ferrara said the phone is 'ringing off the hook'.

"The acceptance from suppliers in the UK, like our supplier partners in the US and elsewhere, has been tremendous. Every major brand is either contracted with us or in talks with us, many of them unsolicited, especially after the news of our ABTA membership," he said.

"What we've heard from a couple of partners is that they are hopeful for a new large-scale player on the agency side in the UK. They'd like to see some diversification at the top level of the market and they believe InteleTravel has the potential to offer that."

He said unlike other homeworking groups, InteleTravel is bringing completely new talent into the industry and creating new market share.

"Our agents are mostly not experienced in the industry. We are bringing new talent, new blood into the agent business, bringing new types of talent into the agent side of the business and younger folks interested in a career in travel," he said.

"Suppliers feel they are getting new market share, not just market share that has been swapped from one agency to another...or taking agents who used to work on the high street and are now working from home."

Ferrara insisted the group is not a 'disruptor' and has a philosophy to play by the rules and strive for respect from its peers.

InteleTravel agents come from a range of backgrounds, he explained. Some are retirees, some run other businesses or have a full-time or part-time jobs and they come from all sectors, including teachers, brokers, and estate agents.

He was quick to dismiss the term 'hobbyist', which has been used by critics to describe some of its agents.

"If I were to take a guess I would say that term betrays a prejudice by a person who is struck in an old definition of what a travel agent is and cannot let that go, cannot open their mind to the new gig economy, the collaborative economy, the way the world now works, and the way social media affects business," he said.

"You cannot fight change. You must embrace change and you have to stay ahead of change and looking at our homeworkers as hobbyists is an attempt to block out the change and stop the change."

Addressing resistance to the group's more open approach to recruitment, he added: "Is there something wrong with someone who sells travel part time, or has another 9-5 job and sells travel on the evenings at the weekend, if they're good at it and they're responsible with it and they're connected with a excellent, company, backed up by service and support and commission tracking and duty of care and all the things that a good travel agency provides."

He said InteleTravel has now applied for an ATOL and was 'well into the process'.



 

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