Thompson targets luxury sector for disabled boon

Juliet Dennis

A new travel agency is hoping to revolutionise the slow and difficult booking process for the disabled travel market. Inclu Travel, set up by former

Travel Counsellors homeworker Richard Thompson, hopes to make it possible for agents to get holiday quotes for disabled clients within 24 hours for the first time. Thompson has battled for years

to get the industry to recognise the commercial benefits of tapping into the disabled travel market and make it easier for agents to book holidays, in particular to guarantee accessible hotel rooms, in the same time frame as standard accommodation. He thinks this may now finally be possible by focusing on the luxury

Richard Thompson

sector. His homeworking agency, set up during the UK lockdown, is part of 360 Private Travel, also a member of the Virtuoso network of luxury specialist agents. He said: “My objective is that

within six months we can go to a destination marketing company

anywhere and get an itinerary with a quote within 24 hours. Before, that was impossible; it would take five months to get a complex itinerary booked [for a disabled client].” As well as the agency, Thompson,

who is himself disabled, has set up Inclu Consulting with a board of specialists from the disabled market. He is in talks with nearly 100

DMCs and hoteliers through 360 Private Travel to train them and help them adapt their facilities to cater for disabled travellers by installing items such as swimming pool hoists. He is confident that suppliers in

the mainstream market will follow the lead of those in the luxury sector. He added: “Being part of 360

Private Travel means I can now get to

the people with the right mindset.” i Your Stories, page 25

Kuoni helps departing staff to find new jobs

Kuoni has created an online ‘Talent Finder’ to help staff leaving the business find new roles. The company, which employs

about 500 people, is offering sabbaticals until June 2021 and consultations on CV writing and reskilling for jobs in other sectors. Kuoni began a consultation with

an undisclosed number of staff in June over potential redundancies as a result of the impact of Covid-19. The online Talent Finder has gone

live at with more than 60 profiles of people who have worked at different levels and departments at Kuoni, from sales and marketing to product, IT and finance. Staff have been divided into

8 10 SEPTEMBER 2020

regions, and details include length of service, roles, skills and testimonials. Each profile is connected to LinkedIn. Chief executive Derek Jones

said: “This is a crisis unlike any other and while it seems counter-

intuitive to be promoting our staff to other employers, it’s a commitment we’re making to support the exceptional individuals who are sadly leaving us. “We want to do all we can to

support them.”

Profiles of more than 60 Kuoni staff feature on its Talent Finder site

Your Car Hire goes

into liquidation Your Car Hire has ceased trading and entered into liquidation after 17 years. The Croydon-based trade-only car rental broker updated its website to inform agents and customers this week. Managing director Ruth Bligh said it had been on course for a record year before the pandemic.

TrekAmerica ceases

trading in restructure TrekAmerica has ceased operations as part of a restructure that will see about 30 positions made redundant at Travelopia’s Adventure Division, which includes Exodus Travels, Headwater and TrekAmerica. In December, Travelopia integrated TrekAmerica into Exodus, and also withdrew sister brand Grand American Adventures. Customers with TrekAmerica bookings will be offered refunds or alternatives with Exodus.

Great Rail Journeys

sheds 43 employees The entire Great Rail Journeys trade sales team are among 43 staff taking voluntary redundancy at the tour operator. Five jobs at the rail specialist are still under consultation in a process that began in August. Chief executive Peter Liney said a restructure to protect the long-term future of the business had become “inevitable” due to the pandemic.

Cities Direct is first

Aito member to fold Short-break specialist Cities Direct has ceased trading. The operator, which was founded in 2000, is the first Aito member to fail as a result of Covid-19. The CAA told agents holding payments not to refund customers until the Air Travel Trust gives instructions.

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