Hays Travel bosses will reveal strategies for the year ahead and welcome new staff to the company during the agency’s expanded retail managers conference in Turkey this week.
More than 700 managers – travelling on four specially chartered aircraft from three different airports – jetted off to Antalya today (12 November) for the event that dramatically increased in size following Hays Travel’s acquisition of Thomas Cook’s former retail estate last month.
There was a VIP welcome for delegates flying from Newcastle, Manchester and Stansted this morning as well as VIP crew onboard – with Hays owners John and Irene Hays serving snacks dressed in Hays Travel uniform.
Hays Travel trebled its number of stores after taking on all of Cook’s 555 high street shops on 9 October.
Around 450 of the ex-Cook branches are now open and trading, with 2,000 staff, who had lost their jobs as part of Cook’s failure, now employed on permanent contracts.
As a result of its expansion, Hays Travel now employs more than 4,000 people and has begun recruiting for employees across the wider industry.
Hays Travel’s managers conference has tripled in size to accommodate the influx of new staff.
Delegates will take part in three days of conference sessions, with evening events and an awards dinner also on the itinerary.
Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, said: “We always make sure our managers have fun at the conference as they get together from all over the country.
“They pack in three full days with some fantastic speakers and workshops, and they end up with a unique insight into the latest developments in the travel industry, and masses of information to take back to their branches.
“This year, we will have the added bonus of getting to know our new colleagues. We’ll also take the chance to recognise and celebrate all the hard work everyone has put in this year, and to thank those from Thomas Cook who joined so quickly and moved mountains to help us get their shops back up and running.
“And we’d also like to thank Jet2holidays and Rixos Hotels who came to the rescue just four weeks ago when all the plans had to be upscaled, as well as Newcastle, Manchester and Stansted airports, for the outstanding welcome they’ve given us.”
Jackie Geddis, a Cook employee of 24 years who is now manager of Hays Travel in Victoria Square, Belfast, added: “We can’t wait to meet some of the other managers and staff from head office [as] being across the water we haven’t had that opportunity yet.
“I’m excited to hear about the Hays Travel plans and strategies for the next year and their vision for the future.”