GOLD Medal Travel has announced a major shake-up that will commit it to working more closely with the trade.

New sections dedicated to the firm’s trade-only Gold Medal division and direct-sell Airline Network division, will be created at the wholesaler’s call centre.

A new specialist division for groups and high-value first-class and business-class clients will also be created.

The company has launched a recruitment drive this week for three managers to head the new divisions as well as two sales managers to be based in Manchester and London.

The board will be expanded with a new marketing director, and a yield manager will also be appointed. Managing director Terry Fisher said the move represents an investment of around £500,000 and sends out a strong message that Gold Medal is committed to the trade.

“With my background as a travel agent I look at it from the perspective of what I would want from Gold Medal.

“Agents have told us they would like dedicated call-centre staff working on their accounts and to further bolster support for the trade we are expanding the sales team.

“The business we get from the travel trade is an extremely large percentage of our overall business and the costs of distribution compared to direct marketing and Internet marketing offer us the best returns and value for money,” Fisher said.

Human resources director Julie Royle said the 260 call- centre staff will be re-organised with sales-driven staff working for Airline Network and customer service specialists working for Gold Medal.