InteleTravel hails agents as top-seller books £431k this year

The top-selling InteleTravel agent in the UK has sold holidays worth a total of £431,000 so far in 2021.

The company’s UK director, Tricia Handley-Hughes, announced the top sellers during the home-working agency’s conference in Valencia.

She said the bookings achieved so far this year by Victoria Grieveson were particularly notable because of the extensive travel restrictions that hampered sales for much of 2021.

Grieveson is a senior manager in a security company and most of her bookings are to the Maldives and Dubai.

The largest single sale was by Penny Ross, who booked a £67,350 Maldives holiday with Major Travel for a family of four.

Lisa Dufty won the award for the highest cruise sale, worth £142,000, and the honour of top newcomer went to Zara Raibin, who joined in January and has made sales of £152,000 in the past couple of months.

The award for the top all-round contribution to the business went to Lewis Bell-Cawthra, who is an ambassador for the homeworking agency, meaning he helps and supports other agents.

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Delegates at the conference also heard about other sales successes over the course of the two-day event in Valencia.

Qasim Gulamhusein, Major Travel director, said an InteleTravel agent had made a £35,000 booking on Wednesday (October 13), and explained that the average booking value is rising as more agents specialise.

Candy Homes, learning and development manager at Major Travel, outlined other lucrative bookings made by InteleTravel agents, such as a £22,000 African safari, £24,000 Antigua holiday and a £65,000 Maldives and Dubai twin-centre.

“We appreciate the support from InteleTravel and value the relationship,” she told the conference.

Shane Lewis-Riley, Virgin Voyages’ associate vice-president, for the UK and Australia, told delegates: “InteleTravel has gone from nothing to flying during the pandemic for us.

“The partnership goes from strength to strength and you are in our top five every week.”

Giles Hawke, chief executive at Cosmos Tours and Cruises and Avalon Waterways, told the conference: “You guys make sales – when we do a webinar or training, we see sales the next day from InteleTravel agents.”

Co-founder and president James Ferrara said attributed much of the success to fact that the agents can book 2.5 million hotels and Airbnb-style villas, plus 900 airlines – and the training on offer.

Commenting on criticism about InteleTravel agents’ level of training, he told Travel Weekly: “Training and education are the backbone of our company; critics do not know that.

“They’re driven by fear, resistance to change and anti-competitive sentiment, I get it, it’s human nature.”

He said some InteleTravel agents, who had previously worked for high street retailers such as Thomas Cook, say they were “never offered that level of training before”.

Ferrara added: “We did see an influx of experienced, more traditional agents exposed to our model through the media and online [during the pandemic].”

He said it can be a “soft landing” for agents who have lost jobs elsewhere as the monthly fee is £32, adding: “Some people spend more at Starbucks each month.”

The agency has attracted criticism from elsewhere in travel because many agents are recruited via network marketing firm PlanNet.

Ferrara said: “It is a separate company, there is no common ownership. We are a 30-year brand, they are about five or six years old.

“It is a recruitment solution, they are a contractor and do an incredible job.”

Tricia Handley-Hughes, InteleTravel’s UK director, added: “Criticism comes from people who do not understand our business, InteleTravel is not a networking marketing company.

“People have got confused between the two companies. People can be in both, they are entrepreneurial.”

Speaking on stage, he said he preferred to call InteleTravel a maverick firm rather than a disruptor.

“We may be mavericks but act as responsible members of the [travel] community,” he said.

“We will not be distracted; we will be fierce competitors.”

Pictured: Palacio de Congresos, venue for the InteleTravel conference in Valencia.

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