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Travel Counsellors sees rise in calls from agents considering ‘next move’

A Travel Counsellors phoneline aimed at agents seeking help and advice for their next career move has had a 20% rise in callers since January 1.

The homeworking agency launched the line at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, originally to support independent high street travel agency owners seeking advice on working remotely during lockdown.

The line has since expanded to offer assistance to all travel professionals in the pandemic.

Five independent agents transitioned their ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses to Travel Counsellors last year.

Global sales director Jim Eastwood said: “As the government’s furlough scheme continues, we’re seeing more travel industry professionals call for advice on their next move.

“These conversations are taking many forms, from launching a new business with us, to more general advice on where they want to take their career when travel upticks again.

“No matter their intentions our aim is to support experienced agents to find the best way forward for them, whether that’s by launching a new corporate or leisure business with us, or finding a path elsewhere that’s personal to them – the ultimate aim is to retain talent with the travel industry, and keep people who care about their customers within an industry they love.”

Travel Counsellors said more than 160 people have joined over the last 12 months, 39 of which are corporate travel specialists.

The company said its digital support hub to support both new and established business owners through turbulent times has now been accessed over 250,000 times since its launch last spring.

Its in-house Coronavirus Information Hub’, listing government announcements, travel restrictions, supplier policies and destination updates has been accessed more 75,000 times.

Eastwood added: “The aim with all of our digital support hubs has been to help our Travel Counsellors and colleagues to continue to be there for their customers and each other, and stay in fighting-fit condition ready for an upturn in travel again.

“It seems spending more time at home and working remotely in lockdown has enabled more scope for people to reassess their goals, and whilst we wait for travel to return to the level it once was, many of our new business owners are using this time to build their networks, reconnect with customers and brush-up on destination and supplier knowledge – ultimately they are training now to gain later.”

December was the highest booking month for the company since the first lockdown period last March, with £5 million of re-bookings made. In the first three weeks of January, Travel Counsellors’ customers booked twice as many Greece and Spain departures than in the same period last year, and USA trips for summer 2021 are now 80% of what they were this time last year.

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