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Published on Thursday, March 18, 2021

InteleTravel agents share pandemic success stories


We have now passed a full year of global travel turmoil.  Despite an industry completely upended over the last 12 months, there are success stories amid the gloom.

InteleTravel UK agents have revealed how they are managing to report strong sales figures during the pandemic,

Overall, the company has sold over £5 million worth of holidays since the start of the year and behind those figures are individual agents who have thrived during difficult times.

Star performers include David Leyshon, of DTL Travel in Pontypridd, South Wales, who booked £60,000 worth of travel in one month, including a thee-night trip for a family of 12 to Lapland, for £18,630, departing in December 2021.

"I've built up a loyal following in my local area and if you get repeat passengers, it snowballs," he said.

"It's really important to build trust with your customers, even more so during the recent difficult period. I made sure I engaged with everyone who had their holidays cancelled and got them a refund in a timely manner.  It gave them re-assurance because they know they can come back to me and I'll look after them."

Like many InteleTravel agents, David combines his work as an agent with another career.  He has a role in customer services at a utility company and the combination of the two jobs has worked well for him during the pandemic.

"I've got a background in sales and it does help a lot because it gives you those vital people skills.  I enjoy the balance of the two roles."

Essex-based Paul Kelbie, from The Jetset Lifestyle, has been securing sales worth tens of thousands of pounds each month during lockdown and his success gained him national coverage when he was featured in The Daily Telegraph.

Paul runs the business with wife Rachel and sister-in-law Sarah, and they work hard to bring in new customers through their Instagram page, which is regularly updated.

"If we can do this during a travel ban, just think what it could be like when the restrictions are completely off and people really start travelling," he said.

Doncaster-based Gemma Spinks, of Gems Luxury Travel has sold over £25,000 worth of holidays since the start of the year, including a £23,000 trip to Florida for a family in October.

"I have children and the opportunity to sell travel from home works really well for me," said Gemma.

"I'm concentrating on luxury holidays and I have a good network of people who trust me."

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Hampshire-based Isabella Davis had a great start to her career as an agent, after joining InteleTravel in December.

 She made her first booking with a £55,560 holiday for her family. 

Isabella is also a trainee investment banker and a student studying for a degree, but her passion is selling holidays.

"There's a lot going on but I love sales and I love travel."

Around 95% of InteleTravel's bookings are for August onwards this year, with the UK, US, the Mediterranean and the United Arab Emirates among the top destinations.  Agents have also seen a spike in booking activity from June, following the UK government's announcement that restrictions will gradually be eased and overseas holidays may be permitted from May 17.

With pent-up demand from a year stuck at home, consumers are willing to pay more too. Many bookings are for upmarket holidays, with an average transaction value of £1,630. This is double the average of £834 a year ago, despite the pandemic.

InteleTravel saw growth of around 40% during the pandemic and now has around 10,700 UK agents. However, new agents spend time on mandatory training before selling, and many agents only work part-time. 

Agents have the flexibility to choose to work part time as they gradually build their travel business.  The results of the past year, in the most challenging period ever for the travel industry, shows that this does not affect the quality of their work.

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