Hays Travel, a travel agency group with its head office in Sunderland, UK, could be set to benefit from the previously announced branch closures by UK-based travel company, Thomas Cook.
Hays is involved in talks with Thomas Cook with a view to taking on some of the high street stores that are set for closure. Hays Travel founder and managing director, John Hays, told Travel Weekly that his group had experienced ten consecutive months of year-on-year profit growth, and achieved sales in excess of £500 million last year. He said, ‘We are still in an exercise with regards to Thomas Cook shops and I do not know what we will do but we are still looking at a reasonable number. I really am an optimist with regards to the high street. There are real opportunities. We are getting a good pipeline of Thomas Cook people and others wanting to be homeworkers.
‘And we have a really healthy number of Thomas Cook managers who have applied to join the Independence Group who feel they want to take on existing shops or move to one nearby.’
Commenting on his optimism for his own company and the industry in general, he added, ‘It’s about having a clear business plan, identifying the market, and going for it really clearly, really hard and really effectively. There’s lots of success stories out there. It is possible to grow in this environment and there are lots of exciting businesses in this sector.
‘Hays Travel is trading really well. We have had growth on the high street for ten consecutive months now. I’m optimistic, but it’s an integrated approach. A lot of clients who book face to face have checked on the web and done their research on our’s or other people’s websites before they come into the shop.’