Travel agency chain and coach tour operator Bowen Travel Group has gone into administration, Travel Weekly understands.

The Hays Independence Group member has 38 travel agencies across the West Midlands, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. It also operates three coach holiday brands – Bowen’s, Appleby’s and York’s – under umbrella brand BGT Travel.

Travel Weekly understands staff were informed of developments this morning at 11.30 at the Northampton head office and all the shop managers were asked to bring their keys which were taken off them and told the firm was going into administration.

Insolvency specialist Deloitte was understood to have applied to the courts for an administration order half an hour ago.

Travel Weekly has been unable to contact anyone from Bowen Travel Group but its website has been suspended and and the firm’s customer service telephone line had its out of hours message on today.

BGT joined Hays in September last year after its franchise agreement with First Choice expired.

Hays Travel managing director John Hays told Travel Weekly he had taken a call from BGT chief executive Ronald Graham on Tuesday afternoon making him aware that Deloitte had been called in to try to save the business.

But having spoken to him again today Hays said: “We are starting to print letters to send to clients to reasure them that their money is safe and to supplier to say we will administer their bookings for them.

“We will offer the staff the opportunity to become homeworkers with Hays, as we have in other situations.

“Homeworking’s not for everyone, but those that have become homeworkers in these situations in the past, have found that they have done very well indeed.”

Any Bowen staff who are interested can call Hays on 0800 412 5990.

Hays added: “We knew some time ago that Bowen’s were struggling and they were trying to dispose of the business and we, alongside other people, were trying to save it but they couldn’t get the sale away.”

A Deloitte spokeswoman was unable to confirm its involvement at this stage.