Hays Travel is to open an office in Glasgow to support its growing in-house tour operation and is hoping to recruit 100 Travel 2 staff whose jobs are currently at risk.
Managing director John Hays said he had options on a number of potential buildings, including one in the same business park as Travel 2, and hopes to open the office by the end of July or early August.
Hays said he had chosen Glasgow to “tap into the talent” that will be available following dnata’s announcement of a restructure in which the closure of its Glasgow office and the merger of Travel 2 into Gold Medal have been proposed.
He said: “We need talent and it doesn’t grow on trees, which is why we chose Glasgow for this new office. We’re looking to recruit as many Travel 2 staff as we can. Some have been in touch already but we need more.”
Hays said he had approached dnata UK to inform it of his intentions, and that the two businesses were “in conversation about potential redeployment opportunities”.
Lisa McAuley, dnata’s managing director of B2B tour operations, said: “We can confirm that we have been approached by Hays Travel to discuss whether there may be the opportunity for the redeployment of a number of our employees following our collective consultation process.
“In the event our proposals proceed, and we must stress we are still in consultation with our impacted employees at this time, we would welcome discussions with potential employers as we would understandably want to do everything possible to help secure gainful employment for all employees who may leave our business by reason of redundancy.”
Hays urged interested Travel 2 staff to contact his recruitment team.
“We need at least 100 people to work across all kinds of things,” he said. “Travel 2 staff have the skills we need to run a tour operation. We need people with GDS experience; knowledge of worldwide destinations and cruise, administration, customer service, customer relations, duty office.”
He said sales of Hays Tour Operating Ltd (HTOL), had “gone through the roof” in recent weeks.
“The market’s way down of course, but we’re seeing three times the volumes we usually do. It’s up 200% every day; driven particularly by our Peace of Mind Guarantee, which has gone down really well,” he said.
“We’re already struggling to cope with the volume, so when the market comes back, we’re going to really not be able to cope unless we recruit about 100 people.”
Hays added that the “varied behaviour” of tour operators during the Covid-19 crisis in relation to refunds had encouraged him to control more of his own destiny by expanding his tour operation.
“The behaviour of tour operators has varied from excellent at one end of the spectrum, to ok in the middle, to appalling at the other end. In some cases, things have been pretty fraught. We still haven’t had a penny out of some partners,” he said.
Hays said he would consider opening up the Hays tour operation to other agents in time, but said the current priority was his own team.
“It’s under consideration; it’s on our roadmap, but to be brutally honest, we have to look after ourselves first,” he said.
“It’s absolutely horrible what’s happening in the industry. But right at the start of this, we sat down and said, this is going to be terrible but there are going to be winners and losers and we want to be the winners.”
Webcast: John and Irene Hays [June 2020]