Travel 2  is enjoying a surge in sales after attracting 430 new agents to its books.

Sales yesterday morning (January 4, 2011) were 30% ahead of the same period last year, while December sales were 25% up on the same month in 2009.

The tour operator has now beefed up its sales team with two new staff – one of which is a brand new role – to meet extra demand.  Former Wendy Wu Tours business development manager Karen Milward has joined as key account manager for the south-east, replacing Craig Palmer, and former national account manager conference and incentives at Maritim Hotels Darren Cartland has been appointed in the new role of key accounts manager for selected partners based in the London area.

Managing director Andy Freeth said some of the new agents, who have never worked with Travel 2 before, were ‘disillusioned’ with rival operators and favouring Travel 2 because it was not part of a larger vertically-integrated company. Travel 2’s major rival Gold Medal is being integrated into the Thomas Cook stable after its acquisition at the end of 2008.

He said: “We have got business from 430 travel agents that in the same period last year didn’t do any business with us. Some of these agents have done anything up to half a million pounds’ worth of business.

“There are agents that have told us they used to work with operator X and no longer want to use that operator because they are disillusioned. I do think we have seen some business come from Gold Medal. Any business going through a massive change in technology and integration will potentially take its eye off the ball in terms of growing sales.”

A revamped website, redesigned brochure, new reward scheme and increased focus on service since last year has also boosted sales, added Freeth.

Freeth said the tour operator had substantially increased its spend on peak season joint trade marketing campaigns, including £150,000 on Dubai alone.