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Travelbag to close Piccadilly branch

TRAVELBAG
is in talks with 75 staff after revealing it will close its central London
branch in the summer.

The
company blamed increasing Internet business for the decision. Managing director
Peter Liney said it hoped to find alternative roles for as many staff as
possible but admitted losses were possible.

He
stressed the closure of the Piccadilly office, which is predominantly the
operator’s call centre, was not a result of January’s £55 million acquisition
by Ebookers. “We planned to shut the call centre next September anyway when the
lease finished but decided to bring forward the move,” said Liney. “We have other
call centres in Alton and Knutsford and simply don’t need three. Five years ago
it made sense but the shift to on-line bookings, particularly for flight-only,
has reduced our number of phone enquiries.”

An
exact date for the closure has yet to be decided.

Liney
now plans to expand its second London office, in the Strand, from 27
consultants to 50. Most of the new staff will simply transfer from Piccadilly,
he predicted.

“We
are also recruiting for new Travelbag shops in Tunbridge and Winchester while Bridge
the World and Ebookers are also hiring,” he said. “If staff are a flexible
there could well be openings for them.”

The
consultation process will end in mid-July, he added.

Liney
refused to say how much Travelbag would save but conceded the Piccadilly site
was “very expensive”.

 

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