The Travel Village Group is targeting cruise sales staff to boost its team as UK summer sailings wind down ahead of the winter months.
Phil Nuttall, owner of the Blackpool-based business, explained the decision to expand the existing 12-person cruise sales team is driven by a need to prepare for when schools return.
He said: “Consumer confidence is good regarding cruise and the ‘staycation’ sailings have been a massive success, but we have a bit of a job with September sailings.
“That will be a bit of a challenge. There’s still a bit of nervousness about fly-cruises but sales for next year and 2023 are looking good.
“It’s about preparing for what winter is going to look like. We’re a bit stretched at the moment.”
Annual leave accrued during the pandemic has meant the agency’s team is currently “playing a catch-up”, added Nuttall, who oversees Holiday Village and Travel Village agencies, which are part of the Travel Village Group.
“People need time off and a break,” he said. “People are taking leave and they need leave and that adds to the situation.”
Asked about interest from applicants, Nuttall believes agents facing redundancy outside the Travel Village Group will probably decide to “stick around” in their current roles before they are made redundant and “won’t be available until October”.
“That is life,” he said. “There will be a lot of hiring and firing in October.”
Nuttall said he is only interested in hiring “quality” agents, who have knowledge of both the ocean and river sectors, rather than targeting a specific number of new staff.
“It is about finding the right people,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity. We just want good sales people that are passionate about travel and customer service.
“We’re a business that wants to engage with customers, find out what makes them tick and make sure that we’re putting them on the right ship.”
Reflecting on redundancies across the industry, he added: “What is really concerning for me is I feel like I am a bit of a custodian for the industry. I feel that we have lost some good people in the industry and that upsets me.
“They’ve gone into other jobs and other careers and they might not come back. It will take some time for the industry to adjust.
“There is going to be a point when we’re going to have to bring new people in and train them.”