Cherie Richards, the new homeworking director at Travel Solutions Network (TSN), is planning face-to-face events as part of her mission to expand the number of agents at the outsourcing start-up.
Following news of her appointment on Thursday (May 19), she told Travel Weekly that she is also looking at ways to promote the strength in depth of the firm’s management team as part of her strategy to recruit a wide range of agents.
“TSN is a new kid on the block but the people behind it are not,” she said. “The people behind the brand have many years of experience and knowledge.”
Richards has 30 years of industry experience, having been commercial director at the Global Travel Group for 15 years, and most recently as head of staff at Not Just Travel.
TSN was founded in February by Garry and Lindsey Winterburn with the aim of employing hundreds of experienced travel professionals to work on outsourced contracts.
The management team also includes chairman Steve Endacott and managing director Ruth Endacott, with non-executive directors Will Waggott and Richard Carrick.
Richard Plant is chief technical officer and Jacqui Jones is operations director.
“The team is innovative and entrepreneurial – travel industry legends who have been in the sector for a long time,” she said.
“The team has so much experience, they can offer different technology and tools for agents. We can tailor solutions for any particular agent.”
Currently Richards is working from home in Shrewsbury and her new colleagues are also working remotely in Cheshire.
But she aims to arrange a face-to-face meeting with TSN homeworkers and is looking at other events, training and in-person networking opportunities.
“I love networking events – I am a people person and want to see people face to face,” she said.
Richards will also be reviewing the TSN website to ensure the offering to agents is clear.
“Independent agents may be wondering what outsourcing or fulfilment mean; the way we represent TSN to the industry should be clear, so they know who we are as a new brand,” she said.
“My experience over the past 17 years has been with independent agents in the office and retail space – I work with people who sell holidays, handle customers and make bookings.
“I know a lot of agents who can take calls to supplement their income. They have their client base but may have some down time so the TSN outsourcing side is a key selling point.
“There will be some people who do not have a huge client base and this can help them to keep going, or some more experienced agents who may be able to take calls in their spare time.
“I will look at flexible options to suit all agents, we are not just a one-trick pony.
“And we could work with agents who have a couple of years’ experience or many years.”
She is also looking at those who may be returning to travel after having left the sector during the downturn of the pandemic.
“Once you have got travel in your blood, you do not lose that passion. Lots will be reassessing what is out there for them,” she said.
“This model is an interesting proposition for them.”
Richards also highlighted how TSN can be a quick and cost-effective solution for operators who need to deal with lots of enquiries but haven’t yet got enough staff to deal with the volume of calls.
“We can be like an implant for a tour operator, the customer does not know any different,” she explained.
The first partner signed up was social influencer online travel agency Trending Travel, and more are in the pipeline.