Riviera Travel has announced a strategic review of its business and entered a 30-day consultation with staff with up to 95 roles at risk.

The company confirmed that on-the-road sales staff would not be affected and would all be retained.

Riviera employs around 500 people in total, with around 230 based at its office in Burton-on-Trent.

The escorted touring and river cruising company said the review would “lead to a leaner business that is fit for the future and focused on delivering exceptional customer experiences as travel evolves in 2021 and beyond”.

Phil Hullah, who became chief executive on March 2, said: “The travel industry has been hard-hit by the pandemic; many firms are having to take incredibly difficult decisions to cut costs and some have simply gone out of business.

“Despite the crisis, Riviera Travel remains a strong company with a passion for curating outstanding holiday experiences.  We took rapid steps to protect customers and the business as the crisis began.  However, it is now clear that its impact is likely to be more severe and more long-term than any of us expected.”

He added: “Whilst we are encouraged that confidence is building for travel in 2021, and by the number of customers who have transferred their holidays from 2020 to 2021, we recognise there are still uncertainties and that demand is unlikely to return in full.  Our business needs to change to ensure that we are strongly positioned to continue to delight customers and provide a sustainable and exciting future for our team in the years to come.

“I want to pay tribute to the Riviera family who have shown tremendous commitment and resolve during this crisis, focusing on what is best for our customers at all times, whilst dealing with the consequences of lockdown for themselves.  I am personally devastated at the prospect of losing such valued colleagues.

“Despite the difficult decisions we have had to take, the service we deliver to our customers will be protected and we will continue to invest in those areas that enhance our customers’ experience.  Whilst the coming months will no doubt continue to be challenging, we are confident that by taking these steps our business will thrive in the future.”

Commenting on trade partnerships, Hullah said: “Working with our travel agent partners is an essential component of our future success and we are retaining our entire on-the-road team and are in fact increasing the front-line support we have in place for agents.

“Although there is some uncertainty, there is also a great yearning for travel to return and people can book a future Riviera trip with confidence – destinations are starting to open and we are working with suppliers on enhanced safety standards and additional support for our tour managers who accompany our guests ensuring they have a great time and a safe time.”

Riviera Travel was founded in 1984 and specialises in touring holidays and river cruises in Europe and long-haul destinations.

Private equity firm Silverfleet Capital bought a majority stake in the company from Phoenix Equity Partners in 2017 for an undisclosed sum. Phoenix Equity had previously acquired its majority stake in 2014 from founder Michael Wright in a deal thought to be worth around £120 million.

MoreNew boss takes helm at Riviera Travel [Feb 20]

Private equity firm acquires majority stake in Riviera Travel [Dec 17]

4JuneBanner