InteleTravel granted Atol licence

Homeworking agency InteleTravel has been granted an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence which will enable its 10,500 UK agents to package their own holidays.

InteleTravel said gaining an Atol is “another major step forward” for the group, which was established in the US more than 30 years ago, before obtaining its Abta membership in the UK in March 2019.

The agency expects its homeworkers will create packages for clients using flights and its “significant inventory” of hotels available in its back-office system.

James Ferrara, co-founder and president of InteleTravel, told agents at the agency’s conference in Spain last month that its long-awaited Atol licence would be granted “within a couple of weeks”.

He told delegates that the licence will enable agents to “double or triple” their earning potential.

Today (November 30), InteleTravel said in a statement that it is taking “a gradual approach to this area of business” with an initial licence to sell £4 million worth of revenue through packages, and the remainder through its existing Atol-protected Preferred Partners.

The Civil Aviation Authority website shows that the Atol authorises a total of 5,310 passengers between December 2021 and September, 2022.

Before they can offer packages, existing InteleTravel agents must pass a test and receive a certificate to prove they have an in-depth understanding of their obligations, including the Atol requirements for social media, advertising and promotions. New agents will have Atol training as part of their on-boarding process.

InteleTravel said its “intense” mandatory training programme is tracked and monitored.

It has a twice-weekly webinar schedule plus a full-day educational training session every two months, mentoring sessions for newcomers to the industry, live events, partner networking and an annual conference.

InteleTravel will monitor the sales of packaged holidays over the coming months before considering launching its own tour operation.

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Tricia Handley-Hughes, UK director, said: “The granting of an ATOL is a major milestone for us and something that we have been working towards and preparing for, since before the pandemic.

“We have demonstrated our robustness as a business and even through the pandemic, our revenues have risen 70% compared with the same period in 2019.

“During the pandemic, we’ve grown rapidly and focussed on training and education for our agents, and now have some of the most comprehensive training in the industry.

“We expect the granting of an Atol will make InteleTravel even more appealing to those considering a career in the travel industry through the homeworking business model, creating a pipeline of new talent.”

In the summer, InteleTravel claimed it was attracting more recruits from “a professional background” who have lost their jobs from other sectors during the pandemic, as well as “newbies” with no travel experience.

Handley-Hughes said at the time that agents who had joined two years ago “had to endure a lot of negativity, but that’s really calmed down now”.

When it was granted Abta membership in 2019, the association’s decision was met with anger by many established members of the trade who believe the company risks damaging agents’ reputation by actively recruiting new entrants with no travel experience.

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