Hays Travel has promoted Natasha Marson to the role of head of its Independence Group, overseeing its 100-strong network of independent businesses.
Marson joined Hays Travel from Thomas Cook in 2019 and became divisional manager for Wales and the Midlands.
At the start of the pandemic last year, she set up the agency’s virtual contact centre.
Prior to joining Hays, Marson worked for Tui for several years in a variety of senior positions.
In her new role, Marson oversees the consortium’s wide range of independent travel businesses that are standalone operations.
Two other key appointments have been made to support existing members as well as cultivate new business.
Leanne Edwards and Helen Williamson, both formerly Hays Travel regional sales managers, have taken on the roles of business development managers for the central and south UK regions. Together with a further appointment to be made to cover the north, they will make up a new on-the-road team.
Edwards joins from P&O and Williamson from Tui. Together they have more than 40 years’ experience in travel.
Jonathon Woodall, Hays Travel’s chief operating officer, said: “I’m delighted that Natasha has taken on the job; she is already making a positive impact on the Independence Group.
“We have seen a significant spike in interest to join from a variety of entrepreneurs both new to the industry as a result of the pandemic, and existing well-established businesses. Our investment in this new team is testament to our commitment to our members and the travel industry.”
Marson added: “It is so incredibly satisfying to be able to talk to such a variety of companies. Every CEO or owner is different, and our aim is to help them succeed in their own way.
“The new team will strengthen the already fantastic Independence Group support team based in Sunderland by being on the road offering tailored support to new and existing members, building mutually beneficial relationships, and sharing their extensive knowledge of our products and systems.
"I am delighted to welcome both Leanne and Helen into the Independence Group family and they are equally as excited to get started and meet our members."