Hays acquires Tailor Made Travel Juliet Dennis

Hays Travel has acquired Tailor Made Travel after the 20-branch Welsh miniple entered administration last week. Tailor Made went into

administration on September 3, with Deloitte appointed administrator. Hays’ offer for its retail estate

and the retention of 100 staff was accepted the following day. Two weeks ago, Tailor Made

chief executive Simon Morgan said he planned to “hibernate” 15 stores this autumn to save the business while keeping five “crisis stores” open, and to introduce a homeworking operation until next spring. Speaking after the acquisition,

he said: “It’s devastating, but I take consolation in the fact this protects the future of the 100 employees. “We realised very quickly the

hibernation process would still leave us exposed to rents, rates, salaries and possibly redundancy costs, and it just wasn’t practical. It was compounded by the lack of ability to sell any imminent travel and make any immediate commissions.” Hays Travel had yet to respond to

Travel Weekly about its plans for Tailor Made this winter, but its acquisition prompted an immediate backlash from Hays staff who have been told their roles are at risk. In August, Hays began a

consultation with 878 staff, of whom 344 were trainee travel consultants

We realised very quickly the hibernation process would still leave us exposed to rents, rates and salaries

and 534 worked in foreign exchange. One member of foreign exchange

staff affected by the consultation told Travel Weekly the Tailor Made deal was “the last straw” for many employees after the company continued with expansion plans despite making redundancies. Last month, Hays opened its 50th

shop in Scotland, re-employing the former Tui staff. It also plans to open

a Glasgow head office for its in-house tour operation, with 100 new jobs, in the near future. The Hays staff member said: “We

feel like we’ve been cast off like an old shoe. The Tailor Made Travel deal was a slap in the face.” Travel Weekly understands at

least 45 staff have raised a formal grievance with Hays Travel and a further grievance is being raised this week covering issues including the consultation procedure, legitimacy of the redundancy process, and company spending on recruitment, advertising and acquisitions at a time of large-scale job cuts. Travel Weekly was awaiting

comment from Hays Travel at the time of going to press.

Thomas Cook set for relaunch as OTA next week

Lucy Huxley

The Thomas Cook brand is poised to be relaunched as an online travel agent next week, pending no significant changes to the government’s quarantine ‘safe lists’. Reports emerged this week

that Chinese conglomerate Fosun was preparing to unveil the OTA after acquiring the Cook brand for £11 million in November 2019 following the travel giant’s collapse. Travel Weekly understands the relevant regulatory approvals are in

6 10 SEPTEMBER 2020

place for a launch, with a source close to the company saying executives had taken heart from this week’s government announcement of regionalised corridors for islands. The source said: “Monday’s

announcement effectively removed half of Greece but there’s still plenty to go at. The biggest worry was winter, so the fact the government has introduced the regionalised approach for islands is a good thing. “It means there is hope for the

Canaries and that’s more important than losing seven Greek islands for

the remainder of the summer.” Fosun, previously Cook’s largest

shareholder, purchased the rights to a number of brands, including Casa Cook and Cook’s Club, and is understood to be planning to rekindle the company’s ‘sunny heart’ logo for the new venture. Another source with knowledge

of the plans said the OTA would initially have a “very cautious” Atol licence to cover the end of the July- September quarter, and was likely to have a licence for under 50,000 passengers in its first year.

Thomas Cook’s

‘sunny heart’ logo may be rekindled

At the time of its collapse in

September last year, Thomas Cook had an Atol licence to carry just under 2.5 million passengers a year. Last year, Travel Weekly reported

that Fosun had created a team of 15 to oversee the OTA launch, including former Cook group strategy and technology director Alan French as chief executive; former head of sales, e-commerce and marketing Phil Gardner as chief commercial officer; and former finance executive Raj

Sharma as chief financial officer. i Get Social, page 27

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