PTA homeworkers urged to capitalise on positives

Juliet Dennis

The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel has urged its homeworkers to revive their passion for travel and look for the positives as research predicts a rise in demand for traditional agents. At the group’s eighth annual

conference, held virtually last week having originally been due to take place in Turkey in May, more than 140 homeworkers were given tips on how to improve the way they work, capitalise on social media and ensure a healthy work-life balance. A survey of more than 1,000

customers and non-customers by the homeworking division of Midcounties Co-operative Travel suggested 79% of respondents would be more inclined to book with an agent in future due to the impact of Covid-19 on taking an overseas holiday. The poll, conducted on

September 4-11 and presented at the conference, found 85% of respondents missed a holiday in 2020 due to Covid-19, while 73% were planning a holiday in the coming year. Of those, 22% said they would travel even if they had to quarantine. Head of the PTAs Sheena Whittle encouraged agents to remember why

they worked in travel and stay positive. She said: “Even though we are still in the thick of the pandemic, there are still pockets of opportunity. “Our survey showed significant

pent-up demand. A lot of agents have got a really good year shaping up for next year.”

C&M sets up advice site about

redundancy and job-finding C&M Travel Recruitment has launched an outplacement tool to help travel companies support staff losing their jobs. The Talenteering Portal is being offered free to all current C&M clients and features information, advice, videos and guidance regarding various aspects of redundancy. It offers help to employees in areas such as wellbeing, confidence and mental health, plus tips about CVs, LinkedIn and job interviews.

8 24 SEPTEMBER 2020 More than 140

homeworkers ‘attended’ the virtual conference

Homeworkers were encouraged

to be visible among customers and to use social media, the group’s biggest source for bookings in March. Whittle said: “We talked about

how to be efficient and harness social media. We encouraged agents to do live updates with different messages.” Agents were also advised to “reset

the clock” and section up their day so they do not spend hours on refunds and have a portion of “positive” daily work that “makes their heart sing”, such as talking to customers. The group has set up eight weekly

virtual ‘class huddles’ to allow agents to share experiences and help each other.

P&O extends suspension of all cruises until end of January

P&O Cruises has cancelled all sailings until early 2021. The line said Caribbean cruises are cancelled until the end of January 2021 and departures from and to Southampton will not operate until February. Affected passengers will receive a 125% future cruise credit or a 100% refund. P&O had previously paused operations until November 12.

Sunny Heart eyes autumn bow with more ex-Cook staff

Start-up tour operation Sunny Heart Travel has hired more former Thomas Cook staff and joined Protected Trust Services. Sunny Heart is poised to launch

this autumn as an online tour operator, after being set up by a team of ex-Cook employees. The operator has taken on Ed

Almeida, former senior technical project manager at Cook, as its new head of projects, and former Cook creative design manager Roger Miller, who will manage Sunny Heart’s blog and social media advertising on a freelance basis. Lucy Roberts, former Cook

copywriter, and Kathryn Glover, former in-house photographer, are writing content for Sunny Heart’s website and blog on a freelance basis. Chief executive Steve

Bentzen said: “I’m hopeful after launch we will be expanding the permanent workforce.” Sunny Heart will protect client

money in a PTS trust account. Bentzen said: “We believe the

trust account Atol model provides a greater level of financial assurance to the customer.” PTS has signed up 80 companies

as new members since the start of lockdown, and reported an increase in the number of bigger, and

established, players joining its ranks. i Business, back page

Bennetts joins easyJet Holidays

as operator’s head of distribution Former Kuoni senior sales operations manager Brad Bennetts is to join easyJet Holidays as head of distribution, replacing Si Morris-Green who is to leave the operator. Bennetts left Kuoni in August following a strategic review triggered by the Covid-19 crisis. Former Travel Network Group marketing director Morris-Green joined easyJet Holidays in December 2019, having initially worked on a consultancy basis.

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