The Midcounties Co-operative’s homeworkers have praised the group for its efforts to keep them informed during the collapse of Thomas Cook.
The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel received daily live videos, updates on the latest CAA decisions and advice from head office in the wake of Cook’s collapse on 23 September.
“One of the concerns you have when you move from a retail agency to become a homeworking travel agent is that you might feel slightly out on a limb with no physical team around you, particularly when something unprecedented like the Thomas Cook collapse happens,” personal travel agent Laura Bennett said.
“I would say that, particularly in the case of the Thomas Cook collapse, the complete opposite was true.”
Midcounties Co-operative’s homeworkers were advised to start looking for alternatives for Thomas Cook passengers the weekend before the collapse, she said.
This helped Bennett rebook 15 holidays by 7am on 23 September. She believes crises like Cook show the value of the travel agent, who had “the opportunity to really prove their worth”.
Results of the annual The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel survey also show its homeworkers are the happiest they have been in the last six years.
The number of homeworkers who were “very happy” when sat at their desks each morning was up 5% from 22% in 2018 to 27% in 2019.
Sheena Whittle, head of The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel, said: “The nature of homeworking means that regular and effective communication, both from the head office team and between agents, is key.”
“We strive to create a working environment where our homeworkers feel supported and nurtured as part of a team.”