Co-op Travel Consortium, part of The Midcounties Co-operative, has signed four new travel agency members already this year.
Its latest additions include an agency that will open to customers for the first time after lockdown is lifted, and three agencies that have joined from other consortia.
The consortium now has 142 travel agent members, which make up the wider Midcounties Co-operative group with the firm’s 78 owned retail branches, and 165 homeworkers under its Personal Travel Advisors (PTAs) brand.
New members include Travel By Hannah in Marlborough, Wiltshire; Travel By Design in the Channel Islands; and The Holiday Emporium, which will open its doors in Rainford, Merseyside, when restrictions allow. Details about the fourth agency have not yet been released.
The consortium confirmed it has also lost two members this year.
The Holiday Emporium (pictured) began trading in January and is owned by family members Denise and Terry Frodsham, Heather Carter and Andrew Cawley.
Cawley said: “We pride ourselves on offering superb customer service and finding fantastic holidays. Being a member of the Co-op Travel Consortium, coupled with our Abta membership, means customers can book with confidence.”
Travel By Design on the island of Jersey was established last month by former staff of the Channel Islands Co-operative Society’s Co-operative Travelmaker agencies, which closed at the end of January.
Located at a former Travelmaker branch in St Helier in Jersey, the travel shop currently employs two members of staff.
Carl Winn, director of Travel By Design, said: “Following the announcement that the Channel Islands Co-operative Society would be closing Travelmaker, the society supported a group of former branch colleagues in setting up an independent agency and Travel By Design was born.
“Travelmaker was part of the Co-op Travel Consortium for almost 10 years and, despite the year we have all had, Travel By Design shares the consortium’s optimism for the future of travel.”
Travel By Hannah is a boutique travel agency in a prime, high street position in Marlborough, where Robin’s World Travel previously operated for 35 years.
Owner Hannah Porter said: “Travel By Hannah is born from my love of travel and seizing an opportunity to be able to continue to share that with others.
“We’re a small shop with two staff and a big passion for travel.
“Generally, our bookings lean towards tailor-made luxury travel but we pride ourselves on our diversity and flexibility to deliver on holiday plans, big or small, UK or worldwide.”
Alison Holmes, head of Co-op Travel Consortium, which has more than 140 members, said: “It continues to be a really challenging time for our members right now, as it is for the whole industry, so to have good news to share about welcoming four new members to our growing consortium, with a further two set to join in the coming weeks, is a welcome boost.
“Consortium-wide bookings over the past couple of weeks have leaned heavily towards winter 2021-22, with departures in that season accounting for nearly 40% of bookings, whilst summer 2022 bookings are also proving popular (36%) and just 19% of bookings are for summer 2021 departures.
“Our new and existing members and all the travel businesses who have survived this pandemic and shown unwavering dedication to their customers, will be ready to take advantage when the pent-up demand for holidays is eventually released.
“This confidence is shared by our newly appointed chief officer for travel and leisure services, Sara Dunham, and the wider Midcounties Co-operative society, which includes a retail network of 78 branches and more than 165 Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel, in addition to the consortium.”
Pictured at The Holiday Emporium, from left: Mica Jones, Vickie Towey, Rachael Harrison and Michaela Gray.