Travel Counsellors has reported a 36% increase in recruits joining the company since the start of the year, with one in two new agents this month being an agency owner.

The company, which has 750 agents across the UK and a further 400-plus overseas, said it has taken on three previous agency owners in November alone.

Travel Counsellors said it believes this increase is down to travel agency owners who are looking for the benefits of running their own businesses while not having the overheads and rising costs of owning a shop, while also receiving back office support.
 
Steve Byrne, Travel Counsellors managing director, said: “There is no doubt that life is tougher than ever for agency owners who have built up great customer relationships but are bogged down in the high-cost structure of being on the high street, which is why we are seeing a marked increase in enquiries from agency owners.”

Byrne said the company’s Phenix dynamic packaging system helps agency owners put them back in control of their own margin.
 
The company also believe the recent Atol changes have played a part in many looking for alternative options, with agency owners facing hefty costs to obtain their own Atol licenses under the new flight-plus scheme.

Travel Counsellors has its own customer trust and was the first organisation to be recognised by the CAA as an Accredited Body.

The company is holding an annual conference in Liverpool on November 23-25.