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Published on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Travel Counsellors sees increase in enquiries to careers helpline


A dedicated phone line offering agents help and advice for their next career move has seen a 20% rise increase in calls since the start of the year.

Travel Counsellors' dedicated support line was originally set up to support independent high street travel agency owners seeking advice on working remotely during lockdown.

But the helpline service has expanded to offer assistance to all travel professionals during the pandemic.

The agency group said December saw the highest booking month for the company since the first lockdown period, with £5m re-bookings made.

The company further reported that in the first three weeks of January customers booked twice as many Greece and Spain departures compared with the same period last year, and US trips for summer 2021 are now 80% of what they were this time last year.

Global Sales Director Jim Eastwood said: "As the Government's furlough scheme continues, we're seeing more travel industry professionals call for advice on their next move. These conversations are taking many forms, from launching a new business with us, to more general advice on where they want to take their career when travel upticks again.

"No matter their intentions, our aim is to support experienced agents to find the best way forward for them, whether that's by launching a new corporate or leisure business with us, or finding a path elsewhere that's personal to them - the ultimate aim is to retain talent with the travel industry, and keep people who care about their customers within an industry they love."

Travel Counsellors lost around 9% of its members during the pandemic, but a spokesperson said this was no more than during a normal year and it signed up an additional 140. Included in that number were five independent agents who transitioned their 'bricks and mortar' businesses to Travel Counsellors.

This new cohort, of which 39 are corporate travel specialists, has achieved over £1m in sales between them since launching their business last year, it said

The company's Coronavirus Information Hub, a bespoke webpage housing information on the latest Government announcements, travel restrictions, supplier policies and destination updates has been accessed more than 75,000 times.

"The aim with all of our digital support hubs has been to help our Travel Counsellors and colleagues to continue to be there for their customers and each other, and stay in fighting-fit condition ready for an upturn in travel again," added Jim.

"We've also been able to share a lot of the information and advice housed in our hubs with many of the enquirers to our helpline, offering to connect callers to chat to our already-established business owners about their first-hand experiences of the last few months, and their hopes and plans for the future."

In addition, Travel Counsellors' Welfare Fund has supported 150 business owners and colleagues who have suffered financial hardship during the pandemic, added the spokesperson.

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