GoCruise & Travel is offering its homeworking agents a ‘Shop in a Box’ kit to host pop-up agencies when lockdown ends.
Worth more than £500, the free kit features branded banners, an iPad stand, chairs and a box which doubles as a desk.
It will be offered to homeworkers who join the company, while the 60 existing franchisees can qualify if they present a viable business plan about how they will use the kit.
Samantha Gibbs, head of franchise at GoCruise & Travel – part of Fred Olsen Travel – said the homeworkers will be able to use the kits in areas of high footfall, such as shopping centres and garden centres or at events such as cruise shows and school fetes.
She hopes that homeworkers can start to hold the pop-up shops in March, if the prime minister announces an easing of lockdown restrictions on February 22.
“We announced this on February 5 and we have been inundated with business plans,” she said.
“Franchisees are signing up for events such as flower shows already. They are really positive.
“We all just want to start speaking to people and having normal conversations.
“We are hopeful that as soon as lockdown lifts, people will come. We are full of positivity.”
She pointed to recent Silver Travel Advisor research which showed a marked swing towards the use of travel agents by older holidaymakers as another reason for confidence.
“People have been cooped up for a long time. The economy and consumer spending are like a coiled spring,” she said.
“We want to be prepared to maximise our opportunities when that happens.”
She said December bookings reached 90% of the levels seen in December 2019.
January bookings were initially dampened by the lockdown during the first week of 2020 but have recovered as the vaccine programme has gathered pace.
“Our specialism is cruises so the majority of customers have been vaccinated,” she said.
“Franchisees’ customers have something to look forward to.”