Advantage launches ‘match-making’ trade recruitment service

The Advantage Travel Partnership has launched a “match-making service” to connect its members with potential new staff members.

Leisure director Kelly Cookes said “eight big companies” – including Polka Dot Travel – have contacted Advantage since the unnamed scheme started a week ago.

Earlier this month, Polka Dot Travel director Mark Johnson told Travel Weekly that the miniple was finding recruitment “very difficult”.

Cookes said: “We’ve got people that are being made redundant, so we’re doing a match-making service with businesses that have vacancies.

“We’ve had responses from some big businesses. It’s important to keep these skills in the industry.”

She added that the existing vacancies outweighed the number of possible applicants, and that the scheme came about thanks to a conversation with an Advantage member.

“We decided to do a temperature check,” she said. “There are businesses that need more staff because they’re opening and scaling up.

“We’re definitely having more conversations about the future of businesses. The conversations taking place are purely in terms of the support that we’re offering and how we can guide them over the next three to four months.

“They might not be long term and each conversation varies but we’re having a lot of conversations.”

Cookes confirmed that Advantage member, Baldwins Travel, contacted head office last Monday about communicating its takeover to suppliers. The Tunbridge Wells-headquartered business, previously owned by Nick and Chris Marks, was acquired by investment group Inc & Co.

“We found out just before the trade,” she explained. “They asked us to communicate that to suppliers. Nick had previously sent messages to suppliers saying that they were looking at the future of the business.

“We’re often finding out about [acquisitions] at the same time. Members are under no obligation to let us know.”

Cookes said Advantage provides managed services. “Over the last 18 months, we’ve been giving out a lot of advice, giving [members] contacts that they can talk to about external investment or about restructure,” she added.

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