Hays Travel Independence Group has reported record growth in membership over the last 18 months.
In total, 18 new members have joined in the last year and a half, equivalent to one new member per month. The group currently has around 110 members.
Speaking at the Hays Travel IG 2022 overseas conference, Natasha Marson, head of Hays Travel IG, said the 14% growth in membership since the start of the pandemic was “significant” and had come from all types of travel companies.
The list of new members includes agencies Mel’s Travel, First For Travel, Travel House, and Doors2manual, as well as tour operator SevenTravel, and Silver Travel Advisor, an information and travel advice publisher for the over-50s, which announced in December it would expand its model to include a booking service as a full-service travel agent.
She said: “We have seen a spike in interest, even from some who are not even in the industry. We have had a real mix of companies join, from brand new entrepreneurs and start up business owners to those from other consortia. We are thrilled to have them on board.”
Chief operating officer Jonathon Woodall-Johnston said the group was keen to see its own homeworkers move across from its Personal Travel Consultant model to its Explorer Travel division, where members can establish their own business, on to Hays Travel IG, where members can set up their own high-street stores.
Both Mel’s Travel and First For Travel started as homeworkers and went on to open their own shops as part of Hays Travel IG in the pandemic, he said.
He added: “The growth we have seen in Hays Travel IG has been a record in the last 18 months. Typically we’d get four to five new members a year but we have had 18 over the last 18 months.”