Agents say operators will have an opportunity to fill the gap left by Travel 2 as they take in news of the potential loss of a much-loved brand.
Parent company dnata Travel Group has started a 45-day consultation period about merging sister trade-only tour operators Travel 2 and Gold Medal.
A merger would mean the end of Travel 2’s brand and closure of its Glasgow offices, with marketing and management functions and the majority of the sales team centralised at Gold Medal’s headquarters in Leyland, Lancashire. Dnata confirmed the Pure Luxury, Cruise Plus and Incredible Journeys brands would be retained under the plans, and some homeworking roles created in Glasgow.
One agent called for a petition to save Travel 2, while others hinted they may turn to rival operators if Travel 2 staff are not kept on.
Joanne Dooey, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, has written to John Bevan, dnata Travel’s chief executive for B2B brands in Europe, to voice concerns about the future of Travel 2’s staff in Scotland.
Dooey, owner of Love to Travel, said: “It’s all about the staff and the location for us. We don’t have many [operators] based in Scotland. We know the staff really well, if they go to other brands, agents will go with them.”
Agents suggested If Only and JTA Travel Group were likely to benefit from sales from those loyal to Travel 2.
Jimmy Martin, owner of Jimmy Martin Travel, said: “This is very emotional for Scottish agents. We speak to Travel 2 staff three or four times a week. There is an opportunity for another operator to take part of that business. We Know JTA personally. We don’t know Gold Medal [staff].”
Tailor Made Travel chief executive Simon Morgan said the move was unlikely to impact his agency, which had a partnership with Travel 2 when it set up, but he admitted: “I’ve got store managers who have personal relationships with Travel 2 staff; if they are not carried forward into the new company my agents might use someone else. We will steer staff in a commercial direction, but these relationships are often irreplaceable.”
Lakh Hayer, managing director of Pure Destinations, agreed. He said: “Travel 2 staff used to regularly come to us. They did our bookings quickly.
“We will use Gold Medal but new relationships will have to be formed.”
Dnata pledged to continue to “proactively engage with our valued agent partners” in future.
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