The Hays Travel Independence Group, a travel consortium set up in 1995, is designed to help independent agents, like you, get the best of both worlds – the support of a large travel industry organisation, without compromising your independent status and identity.
Whether you’re looking to start a new travel business or you’re an existing retail agency, tour operator, online retailer, telesales operation or homeworker, the Hays Travel Independence Group has a solution for you. We recognise that each partnership is unique and that each of our members requires a tailored package to suit the nature of their business.
A key ingredient to the success of the Hays Travel Independence Group is our passion for travel and people; as an independent travel agent with over 30 years experience, we have real insight into the business.
Our dedicated support team is here to offer you a personal service, helping all of our members to reach the goal of running a profitable agency. Alongside this support, we also allow you the space to concentrate on the running of your own business, allowing a truly independent status and identity. This means you decide your own marketing, discounting and racking policies, whilst getting top tour operator and supplier commissions and overrides. As an independent agent, you can really concentrate on maximising sales and profits, with the benefit of reduced operational costs.
Here at the Hays Travel Independence Group, it’s all about partnership, profit and people.
As a business, we’ve come a long way since our humble beginnings. Today, we employ over a thousand people across our network and have grown to become the UK’s largest independent travel agent.
Year-on-year we’ve broken our own record by investing, to maintain our enviable position as a frontrunner within the industry and, last year, our turnover was a record £650 million. What’s more, we’ve been recognised as one of the Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies in the UK to Work For.
Through our continued expansion throughout the North East, North Yorkshire and the North West, we currently operate 43 retail branches and a call centre. We also employ over 200 Personal Travel Consultants and Telesales Homeworkers; and have in excess of 100 Independence Group members.
Fully ABTA and ATOL bonded, we’re able to offer complete financial security, and our independent status means we really can offer impartial advice to find our customers the perfect holiday. We work with hundreds of suppliers to ensure this.
Becoming a Hays Travel Independence Group member brings with it a variety of benefits. We’ve detailed some of these below:
ABTA and ATOL Bonding
On joining the Independence Group, you’ill be issued with a unique ABTA number, meaning that you’ll receive financial protection and peace of mind for your clients, as well as the added credibility of being part of the UK’s most recognised and respected travel associations. We’re responsible for the bonding and membership so you don’t have to worry. However, we’ll expect you to adhere to the ABTA code of conduct. Our members have access to our in-house ATOL facility, which gives you the opportunity to package your own holidays safely and legally. Not only that, but it also provides your clients with peace of mind knowing that they’re protected.
The Latest, Low-Cost, Cutting-Edge Technology and Communications Network
The Independence Group offers user-friendly, cost-effective, and innovative travel software systems. Both front and back office systems are supplied at excellent rates with regular enhancements to keep your business at the cutting-edge of the industry.
Independence Group members receive:
iSell: selling system | iTour: tour operating selling system | high-speed internet access | Customer Relationship Management (CRM) | automated credit card authorisation software | email addresses | anti-virus software
No Joining Fees
We don’t charge any set-up, joining or annual membership fees to be part of the Independence Group – you’ll simply pay a monthly management services charge.
Excellent Commercial Terms with an Extensive Portfolio of Tour Operators and Suppliers
Our Commercial department negotiate to secure the best and most competitive commercial terms with all our suppliers. We enjoy preferred agent status with package tour operators, flight only operators, accommodation only suppliers, cruise lines, and ancillary product suppliers. There are also fantastic extra earning opportunities. Staff incentives, special promotional activity and tactical offers are communicated immediately and effectively via the Independence Group intranet. As an independent organisation, we trade with industry bonded tour operators large and small, across the whole spectrum, including car hire companies, accommodation suppliers, and ancillary product providers. We also offer access to exclusive hotel and transfer rates via our own Hays products.
Area Sales and Recruitment Managers
Our Area Sales and Recruitment Managers are all from varied travel backgrounds. We believe that there’s nothing better than the personal touch, so they will guide you through your journey, from the first stages of enquiring right through the set up.
We provide, free of charge, a bespoke training programme for every Independence Group member. Your training plan will be tailor-made to suit your business requirements. The training will be held in Sunderland, where you’ll get the opportunity to meet our friendly head office team. You’ll leave feeling confident about all of our systems and procedures, and there’ll always be support following your training, should you have any further questions or queries. During training, you’ll really get to grips with the systems, administration and finance, among other things.
Friendly and Helpful Support Team
We have a head office based Support team in Sunderland. The team are just a phone call or email away, and they’ll do everything they can to help with your questions or queries. Whether you’re a new or existing member, the team are dedicated to supporting you.
Finance and Administration Team
Our Finance team provide support on any financial queries you may have – this could be anything from transactions to commissions. You have access to daily commission reports, and our Finance team are great at helping our Independence Group members utilise these for financial planning.
We’re here to help you develop and grow your travel business so that it can reach its true potential. This can only be achieved by recognising how unique you are, and so we work hard to ensure we really understand your objectives. But rest assured, you’ll be controlling your own business! We’re passionate about travel and are equally passionate to see you succeed. We’re confident that together we can reach your business aspirations.
Hays Foreign Exchange provides Independence Group members with all of the facilities required to operate a successful currency bureau, with none of the risks. Benefit from no credit card charges or bank charges, but instead build on our expertise! We provide currency stock, traveller’s cheques, prepay currency cards, electronic rate boards, hardware and software requirements plus competitive rates, alongside staff training and helpdesk support.
In addition to regular contact with your Area Management team, Independence Group members benefit from our Annual Conferences. Here, we get together to share new ideas and best practice. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with other members, key support teams, tour operators and suppliers. These are held twice a year, one in the UK and one overseas.