Less than two weeks after Hays Travel announced the biggest agency deal of the decade, the shocks keep coming. First it was Barrhead Travel which, just a day after Hays’ deal, set out plans to expand its own retail footprint by up to 100 stores.
Barrhead then raised further eyebrows with the appointment of three former Thomas Cook chiefs, including Chris Mottershead, to spearhead its expansion. Travel Counsellors has also been busy, recruiting more than 30 ex-Cook employees.
And all the while, Hays has been re-opening former Cook shops, with more than a third up and running as TTG went to press.
Irene Hays admits to TTG there are areas where there will be duplicate Hays Travel stores – 49 to be precise – but importantly, if there are closures, Hays insists no employees will be made redundant.
Hays also insists the business doesn’t plan to offload stores to rivals, despite the rumour mill suggesting otherwise. This may come as disappointing news to Barrhead Travel, with Mike Batt, chair of parent company Travel Leaders, revealing to TTG he would “love to talk to Hays”.
Regardless, Batt is focused on increasing Barrhead’s retail footprint, which will inevitably lead to new roles being created.
At a time when headlines remain filled with doom, gloom or Brexit (usually all three), investment in both the high street – and people – is welcome news for us all.
A TOUCH OF LUXURY
Luxury travel is another area of the sector that continues to boom, as highlighted at last week’s TTG Luxury Travel Summit. In celebration of the conference – TTG Luxury’s 11th – we’ve given this week’s issue a luxury theme. Read about the hottest trends in the sector and find out how you can tap in to this lucrative market.