Travel Weekly Guide to Homeworking: The rise of the homeworking model
Published on October 28th, 2020 on Travel Weekly.
Other industries have just discovered the merits of working from home, but travel agents have been doing it for decades, finds Samantha Mayling.
Over the past 25 years, the homeworking agency sector has evolved from a handful of pioneering companies to an estimated 50‑plus players.
Now, amid lockdowns during the Covid-19 crisis, vast numbers of office and shop workers in many industries are becoming accustomed to working from home – and hundreds of agents have or are planning to set up as homeworkers.
Homeworking agencies across the board have reported a spike in interest since March, as redundancies and reassessed lifestyles have accelerated the ‘WFH’ trend.
But homeworking in travel can trace its roots much further back.
History of homeworking
Trailblazer David Speakman founded Travel Counsellors in 1994 and the brand has grown from three homeworkers to almost 2,000 in seven countries.
Other early adopters include Future Travel, the homeworking arm of Co-operative Travel, which was the market leader in the mid-2000s, with more than 500 agents by 2004.
It was renamed as The Co-operative Personal Travel Advisors following the retail merger with Thomas Cook in 2010.
“Early adopters include Future Travel, the homeworking arm of Co-operative Travel, which was the market leader in the mid-2000s.”
Thomas Cook rebranded the homeworking group to The Freedom Travel Advisors in 2017.
Sadly, Freedom ceased trading with the collapse of Thomas Cook in September 2019, and many agents moved to consortia and groups such as Midcounties Co-operative, The Vertical Group, The Travel Network Group and Protected Trust Services.
The Vertical Group is the parent of Your Holiday Booking, which has grown over the past couple of years as multiples have cut back on their high street presence.
Commission cuts by major operators such as Thomson in the mid-noughties spurred many homeworkers to turn to dynamic packaging as the margins on package holidays shrank.
Hays Travel ramped up recruitment of homeworkers around this time, doubling numbers from 80 in 2004 to 160 in 2006.
Travel Counsellors’ in-house dynamic packaging system, Phenix, was a key technology driver in shifting the balance for its agents from traditional packages to tailor-made holidays.
The company’s model has also evolved, and now its franchisees also work as pairs, trios and teams, employing assistants, or even moving into high street stores or shared office spaces.
“Commission cuts by major operators in the mid-noughties spurred many homeworkers to turn to dynamic packaging.”
Alistair Rowland, now chief executive at Blue Bay Travel, has overseen homeworkers for 20 years. He was managing director at Future Travel and remembers when agents sold via Teletext.
He has seen business models evolve, with self-employed options becoming dominant while employed agents working in a call-centre-style role, albeit from home, are fairly limited.
“There are myriad self-employed models: either they fulfil from a source – with lower commission – or offer the classic 60:40 commission, with 60% to the agent, 40% to the business. Some people mix the offer,” he says.
“Blue Bay Travel chief executive Alistair Rowland has seen business models evolve, with self-employed options becoming dominant.”
Now at Blue Bay Travel, which is part of Midcounties Co-operative, he has launched a new homeworking offer that pays half the commission in the month of booking to help with cashflow during the Covid-19 crisis.
Midcounties Co-operative launched its homeworking division, Personal Travel Agents, in 2012 and encompasses other homeworking ventures such as The Travel Directors and newly launched The Travel Managers brands from the Aquilium Travel Group.
Protected Trust Services is another firm with its own homeworking agents, some of whom have plans to take on homeworkers themselves, such as Travology. Other long-established brands include Holidaysplease, set up in 2002, offering leads to agents, who can also develop their own client base.
Ring the changes
Scottish agency chain Barrhead Travel launched its homeworking business under the Brilliant Travel division in 2013. In 2018, Barrhead was acquired by American travel giant Travel Leaders Group, which has four other UK-based brands: Protravel International UK, Tzell Travel Group UK, Colletts Travel and Scotia Travel.
Led by managing director Jason Oshiokpekhai, these four brands are being brought together under a new homeworking division of luxury travel experts known as Global Travel Collection.
Another US travel firm, InteleTravel, launched in the UK in 2018, having operated in the US since 1992. Its arrival has been controversial among traditional agencies, as InteleTravel recruits people with no experience in travel, and has been forced to deny claims that it is based on a multi-level marketing scheme.
“InteleTravel has been controversial among traditional agencies, as it recruits people with no experience in travel.”
More recently, The Advantage Travel Partnership launched a dedicated homeworking division in August 2020. The Travel Specialists by Advantage is designed, according to leisure director Kelly Cookes, as a “hybrid model between a traditional homeworking organisation and a managed services consortium model”.
Cookes says the Covid-19 lockdown has “accelerated the appetite” for remote working.
“Homeworking was on the rise anyway as technology developed but it was a gap in our portfolio,” she says. “It’s seen annual growth of about 10% over the past five years and is probably growing faster now.”
“Managing director Gary Gillespie reports that several ITE homeworkers have taken on second jobs as the Covid-19 crisis has continued.”
Rival consortium The Travel Network Group took on Independent Travel Experts as its homeworking arm in 2013. It is seeing the benefits of having home-based rather than high street agents but managing director Gary Gillespie reports that several ITE homeworkers have taken on second jobs as the Covid-19 crisis has continued. ITE has also had to make three redundancies, but those affected are carrying on with the consortium as homeworkers.
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Here at Holidaysplease, we aim to be the No 1 Online Travel agency in the UK, with an engaged & highly successful network.
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We pride ourselves in giving outstanding support to our Travel Experts but don’t just take our word for it see what our Travel Experts think about us below.
Over the last decade, we are very proud to have won numerous awards for our success. The most celebrated are ‘Online Travel Agency of the Year’ numerous times, most recently in July 2022 at the Travel Weekly AAA’s, and Top Homeworking Agent of the year 2018/19/20 at the Travel Agent Achievement Awards and TTGTOP50. We are super proud that Jo Shayler, one of our agents was also named individually as the UK’s Top Home-Based Agent at the TTG Travel Industry Awards 2021 . These awards are selected from hundreds of travel agents all over the UK and nominated by our peers in the travel industry. We’re very proud of our achievements so far and work hard to continue our growth and better ourselves year upon year.
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Posted by Phil Davies on Mar 1st, 2023 at 12:20
Homeworking giant InteleTravel launches weekly Intelecast podcast for agents
The firm’s 13,500 advisors offered broader range of choice for updates from suppliers
A weekly podcast for advisors has been introduced by homeworking firm InteleTravel.
‘Intelecast’ will feature interviews with premium partners, cover travel and destination trends, and provide useful information for agents.
The podcasts will supplement InteleTravel’s weekly interviews with suppliers on Facebook as an addition to training for agents.
The first episode launched on Monday (February 27), presented by InteleTravel UK PR manager Jeremy Skidmore, who spoke to Celebrity Cruises’ inside sales manager Janna Thomson.
UK & Ireland managing director Tricia Handley-Hughes said: “Our new podcast channel is another route to agent communication and agents will have a choice on where they obtain their information.
“Our quarterly strategic plan is now confirmed with partners who have signed up to the tiered partner programme, which includes a mix of virtual and live events around the UK.”
InteleTravel introduced a three-tier marketing support plan for its 70 preferred partner suppliers in January to provide more focus and discipline in delivering its product training and promotion portfolio.
InteleTravel has 13,500 advisors, with bookings up 41% in January and 35% in February, compared with the same months last year, with average booking values up 24%.
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Alistair Rowland, chief executive of Blue Bay Travel, says a good homeworker should have 200 or more clients and turn over between £500,000 and £1 million in a normal year to generate a good income. Top earners can turn over £2 million a year, he says, but start-ups can target £300,000 from about 100 clients.
Hays Travel ramped up recruitment of homeworkers around this time, doubling numbers from 80 in 2004 to 160 in 2006. Travel Counsellors' in-house dynamic packaging system, Phenix, was a key technology driver in shifting the balance for its agents from traditional packages to tailor-made holidays.
Home Based Travel Agent Homeworking Up to 70% Commission The Vertical Travel Group If you are an experienced travel agent, start your own business by becoming a Home Based Travel Agent with Vertical Travel Group. 2 days left Worldwide Travel Reservations Consultant Homeworking UK Wide Up to £24,000 plus commission & excellent industry benefits
Travel Weekly Guide to Homeworking: The rise of the homeworking model Published on October 28th, 2020 on Travel Weekly. Other industries have just discovered the merits of working from home, but travel agents have been doing it for decades, finds Samantha Mayling.
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Over the last decade, we are very proud to have won numerous awards for our success. The most celebrated are 'Online Travel Agency of the Year' numerous times, most recently in July 2022 at the Travel Weekly AAA's, and Top Homeworking Agent of the year 2018/19/20 at the Travel Agent Achievement Awards and TTGTOP50.
We're so proud to have won Travel Weekly's Homeworking Agency of the Year 2022, and to be able to add that to our ever-growing trophy shelf! We've taken the trophy home in that category every ...
5. Irene's Travel. 23. Travel Services. "I was looking for a good travel agency to book travel needs for my family." more. 6. United Travel Service. 11. Travel Services.
Homework Travel Travel and transport ID: 1542157 Language: English School subject: English as a Second Language (ESL) Grade/level: Pre-Intermediate Age: 14-16 Main content: Travelling vocabulary Other contents: Transport vocabulary Add to my workbooks (12) Embed in my website or blog
A weekly podcast for advisors has been introduced by homeworking firm InteleTravel. 'Intelecast' will feature interviews with premium partners, cover travel and destination trends, and provide useful information for agents.
Travel Date: 21st Dec 2019 - 4th Jan 2020. No. of Pax: 11. Read More. Travel ITINERARIES. Osaka - Gifu - Tokyo Itinerary 14 Night / 13 Days. No fanciful write up, pure itinerary for this battalion. Travel Date: 21st Dec 2019 - 4th Jan 2020 ...
Sponsored: Vertical Travel Group's award-winning technology, V-Suite, provides you with the very best tools to succeed as a homeworker. Find out more about its offering on our Homeworking ...
San Jose Travel. San Jose is the gateway to Northern California! It's a clean, safe, family-friendly city with world-class amenities. It has great golf courses, one-of-a-kind museums and is a short drive to wineries, the beaches of Santa Cruz, the Monterey Peninsula, Napa Valley and San Francisco.
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