Hays Travel is recruiting 20 new agents to fill two new designated call centres for long-haul and cruise, after “struggling under the weight” of direct enquiries.
Hays group head of commercial, Jonathon Woodall – a TTG’s 30 Under 30 alumni – will head up the long-haul operation, while new head of cruise Vicky Billing – formerly strategic account manager for Royal Caribbean – will lead the cruise call centre.
Both will have B2C and B2B-facing staff and will be located at Hays’ head office in Olive Street, Sunderland.
Existing members of the former single call centre – which covered both cruise and long-haul – will transfer to the new set-up. The total number of call centre staff will approximately double overall.
Woodall told TTG: “In the past few months since November it has been really difficult for us to cope with direct enquiries from customers.
“Our turn-of-year offers for destinations like Bali and Thailand just completely took off. New York and Iceland have also done extremely well. Our volume massively increased.”
For the long-haul centre, two of the new appointments were internal and eight were external. Billing is still in the process of building the cruise call centre team.
Woodall continued: “From my point of view as a staff member, it’s brilliant that we are continuing to expand.”
He said that the call centres would expand further if they prove successful. “My personal objective is to increase my team because the belief is that growing the team directly reflects the success of the business.”
Woodall added that Hays would be launching marketing activity in the next few weeks, which would keep the B2C section of the long-haul call centre team “very busy”.
The long-haul call centre has already gone live, while the cruise hub will launch next month.