A new tech platform designed to ease the burden of credit card surcharges on Hays IG members will be among the group’s key announcements at its annual conference next month.
The conference, which will be held in the Algarve region of Portugal over October 5-8, will centre around a theme of how members can grow their businesses with the group’s help.
Speakers will include BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern, Hays Travel managing director John Hays, Miles Morgan, boss of multi-agency member Miles Morgan Travel, and Nicola Park of Seaside Travel, which opened its second branch in 2016 and now has plans for a third.
Jonathon Woodall, group head of commercial and TTG 30 Under 30 alumni, said delegates would get the chance to hear from three figures at very different stages of their journey with the IG group.
“The theme is ‘how to grow your business’,” said Woodall. “The reason we’re looking at this is while Hays Travel has been expanding readily for some time now, we know there is much more potential for growth among our independence group members.
“We want to show all 120 plus members growth is possible and how it can be achieved - things like how to open that second shop and increase business.”
Other key topics will include the new card surcharge legislation, which came into force in January and has been widely criticised throughout the travel industry, GDPR and the new Package Travel Regulations, including the group’s efforts to help members continue packaging dynamically without taking undue risk.
Conference sessions will include an IG group update, details of new members, an address from John Hays reflecting on Hays Travel £1 billion turnover achievement and a retail division update.
The group will also present its latest outstanding contribution award.
Woodall said one major announcement would centre around tech. “It’s something already on the market, but we’ve really brought it forward another step,” said Woodall of the new tool.
“We’ve been working on something to help members with these new credit card charges they’ve had to absorb. It should help reduce them.”
On Seaside Travel’s participation, Woodall said Park’s story echoed that of John Hays, starting in the Sunderland area with a single premises.
Woodall said Park, with the group’s assistance, was successfully growing Seaside’s growth through Facebook and social media in the absence of traditional high street footfall.
“The big thing for us is to demonstrate how Hays IG can help all our members grow and expand and support them during these big steps,” said Woodall.
“We have 123 members in Hays IG. They all have growth potential but last year, only three or four of them expanded. We want to make sure they know what help we can offer.”
Woodall added Thomas Cook would return the conference’s headline sponsor for the fourth year in a row: “We are delighted with our relationship with them, their commitment to us and the trade,” said Woodall.
“Hey have really come back to us. How they work with us and our members is really good.”
A further 30 sponsors and suppliers will support the conference.