Future Travel rethinks structure ahead of Teletext changes

Future Travel is rethinking the structure of its membership as the wind-down of Teletext’s analogue service means its homeworkers can no longer rely on high call volumes.

The homeworking consortium – which comes under The Co-operative Travel umbrella – is currently made up of one third Personal Travel Advisors who sell to their own clients and two thirds agents who take calls.

However, agents are already struggling with poor call volumes ahead of Teletext switching off its news and information services in January 2010. Granada is switching off analogue in December, which means 20% of calls to the homeworking division will be lost.

The Co-operative Travel director of distribution Alistair Rowland said: “Teletext dissipating is affecting some agents’ ability to deliver. It is especially difficult for the weaker agents, who feel they are pedalling harder than ever without getting anywhere.”

Rowland is urging those agents who are struggling to switch over to the Personal Travel Advisors’ sub-brand, with the aim of this segment eventually making up two thirds of the Future Travel membership.

“The very good agents can stay with the (calls) model but we want those who are struggling to move towards our Personal Travel Advisor option. There is no point in agents wasting their time and wasting the calls.”

He added: “The Personal Travel Advisor segment continues to grow because people value trust.”

The remaining agents who rely on telephone leads will have to become specialists, added Rowland.

He said: “There is no way of replacing Teletext with a single medium. We are using holiday comparison sites but this is a more expensive option. Agents will have to become specialists in niche markets if they want to succeed.”

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