The Co-operative Travel Group’s agents are increasingly embracing social media websites and online distribution channels to replace falling revenue from traditional channels, such as Teletext Holidays’ analogue service.


Teletext recently announced plans to bring forward the switch off of its analogue service to January 2010 from 2012, although it has yet to confirm if this will be the case for Teletext Holidays. The holiday service remains on Freeview channel 101 and teletextholidays.co.uk, thisistravel.co.uk and villarenters.com.


The Co-operative Travel distribution director Alistair Rowland said more of its agents were signing up to micro-blogging site Twitter and social networking sites such as Facebook to boost their brand profiles, while increasingly working with online companies including Travelzoo, Icelolly and Travelsupermarket.


Rowland said: “Everybody has got a thirst to replace the calls they got from Teletext. Agents will still be on Teletext, but they will also be on other sites and on Twitter; they need to be doing what customers are doing. You need to be in the forums where people are discussing travel.”


The group’s homeworkers, including Future Travel, need to replace around half a million calls a year as a result of a fall off in business from traditional channels such as Teletext’s analogue service.


Rowland said: “We are doing all sorts of things to feed calls to homeworkers. In the old days, a page on Teletext would give you 150 calls a week and you could almost cherry-pick which calls you took. Now a page delivers 50 calls of a lesser quality.


“We have got homeworkers still on analogue, but they will spend more time with customers to see if they will book.”


He added: “The world is changing and the ones who survive will be the big brands because people are looking for trust and support and want their money to be safe.”