Future Travel is to be rebranded The Co-operative Personal Travel Advisors in the first major change to the business since the proposed retail merger with Thomas Cook was announced in October.
The decision reflects more agents moving from Future’s media division, which mostly relies on a diminishing number of calls from Teletext, to its Personal Travel Advisors (PTA) setup.
PTAs, who generate their own business, now make up 60% of membership.
Managing director Jane Atkins said: “More and more of our homeworkers are moving towards becoming PTAs.”
Atkins added that the homeworkers would benefit from using the Co-operative brand, which would receive a further boost from the merger with Thomas Cook.
Homeworkers were advised of the rebrand, which is likely to be completed by the end of the year, on Monday. Future is also merging its three consumer websites into one – personaltraveladvisors.co.uk.
However, PTA Jenny Jackson said the change would confuse clients. “We’ve just told customers that we’re merging and now we’re rebranding as well. They are concerned that the level of service will change.”
But David Hoyle, also a PTA, welcomed the move: “This will be of particular benefit to the media division, as Co-op will come further up Google rankings and drive more calls.”
The Cook-Co-op merger is yet to have an effect on the homeworking division, added Hoyle. “We are getting more offers and things sent through from Cook, but I don’t feel under pressure to use them.”
The deadline to respond to the Office of Fair Trading’s appeal for comments on the merger is December 1.