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Published on Monday, August 10, 2020

Scores of redundant senior travel reps sign up with new outsourcing agency



Former Jet2 sales manager Craig Davidson says he's 'heartbroken' at the number of good-quality staff who have lost their jobs in the coronavirus pandemic, adding 'the pick of the best' have signed up to his new company, Flexi Reps.


Craig, who launched Flexi Reps last Monday, said: "It's heart-breaking. We've had so many reps get in touch, all talented individuals, that are crying out to get back to what they love.


"The first to be furloughed were the sales teams. We've signed up 100 people in five days. I'm not talking about low level - these are senior level, business development managers and account managers - all key people that have got trade travel agent experience.


"I have got the pick of the best of the reps, not only in the UK, but also in Ireland."


Craig's business partner Kelly Freeth said: "I recognise so many of the reps names as I've been trained by lots of them in the past. I am gutted they are all looking for opportunities and our industry is at risk of losing them for good which will be a real shame."


Flexi Reps is organising support for sales reps now on its books, many of whom are 'devastated' at being made redundant and who need help to restore confidence.


"This is the first time many of these people have been made redundant. Some have taken it personally and it's affecting their mental health," he added.


"It has never happened to them before. We're organising Zoom calls to give them the motivation and TLC they need, including bringing on some motiviational speakers.


"Some reps have said to me: 'I was the heart of soul of this company. I worked for this brand for so many years.' I've been saying to them that everyone knows it's not their fault. Unfortunately, trade sales are seen as a luxury and they've been let go early.


"A couple of companies have got rid of their entire trade team,  leaving just one person to do the job of five or six."


In the first week of launch the Flexi Reps website has had over 2,800 visits and over 15 companies have been in touch to use Flexi Reps, including Craig's former employer Jet2.


"Jet2 still has a trade team, but wants to tap into our resources," he said.


"We have had a lot of interest from operators and I'm hopeful we'll be sharing news of our first project in the next week or two. We are already redesigning our website to make sure we can easily post and share opportunities as they come in. We have also started a weekly blog and reps' newsletter, Thank Flexi its Friday."


Flexi Reps will be employed on short-term contracts and will be paid a day rate. They'll go out on the road, speaking to retail and homeworker agents on behalf of operators and representation companies.  


"It's the right time to launch, as agents need more information than they have ever had to get the customer to push the button. We are going to be that bridge between operators and travel agents."


By Lisa James, Deputy Editor (UK)

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