Vertical Travel Group’s homeworking division has grown throughout the pandemic and it continues to recruit as agents gear up for a surge in bookings in May.
Damian Mc Donough, business development director at the group’s Your Holiday Booking brand, said more than 40 new homeworking agents have been taken on during the pandemic.
He said the ongoing recruitment drive is “going from strength to strength” and the group is taking on one or two new starters each week, sometimes more.
There are now about 220 homeworkers and the group offers four homeworking brands – Your Holiday Booking, Holiday Elite, Instant Holidays and Instant Breaks.
Agents have access to about 300 suppliers through Midcounties Co-operative, and more products via its inhouse tour operation which features Amathus Holidays, bedbank.com and Transfers4Travel. It also has inhouse technology from Vertical Systems.
Mc Donough said the homeworkers are preparing for the announcement of traffic light categories for each destination as bookings are likely to rise.
“There is lots of activity at the moment, as agents are keeping in touch with their clients but we want to get them to book,” he said.
“As soon as travel starts, there will be lots of questions.
“There will be a bit of a bun fight when [the traffic lights] are announced.”
He anticipates a flurry of late bookings which means agents will get commission sooner and boost their income in June.
Currently the holidays being booked are couples and families heading to Mediterranean beach resorts and the Caribbean, plus safaris and trips to destinations such as New York, Dubai, Australia.
The group has supported its agents throughout the pandemic with video calls and virtual coffee mornings plus information about accessing government support for the self-employed.
Mc Donough said some homeworkers took on additional part-time jobs rather than leave the travel sector.
Other roles include teaching assistants, and jobs in call processing, administration and customer service, he said.