Hays Travel Independence Group

We are delighted to be celebrating our twentieth successful year whilst still being at the forefront and an industry pioneer of the travel consortium. We are extremely proud of our heritage of being family owned and we stand by our mantra of providing our members with the best of both worlds – the support of a large travel industry organisation, without compromising your independent status and identity.

We are a living and breathing travel company with the largest independent travel retail network in the UK and we are committed to supporting your business whether you are new or existing to the travel industry.

We recognise that each partnership is unique and that each of our members requires tailored support to suit the nature of their business. A key ingredient of our success is our passion for travel and people; as an independent travel company with 35 years experience we have real expertise and insight into the travel industry.

Whether you’re looking to start a new travel business or you’re an existing retail agency, tour operator, online retailer or telesales operation we have a bespoke 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.

Our UK based dedicated team is here to offer you a personal service, helping all of our members to reach the goal of running a profitable business. You can concentrate on maximising sales and profits, with the benefit of reduced operational costs and overheads with our state of the art selling and back office systems.

We 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 we negotiate the very best 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

We are very proud of our achievements and numerous industry awards, however most of all we are proud of our people and our members – here at the Hays Travel Independence Group, it’s all about partnership, profit and people.

You have seen our history – so let us be part of your future!

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About Hays Travel

In 1980, with no industry experience and only a desk at the back of his mother’s childrenswear shop, John Hays struggled to get his travel business off the ground. However, from the minute he opened his first small retail shop in Seaham, County Durham, he was hooked, and fell in love with the travel industry.

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.

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A complete off-the-shelf solution

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’ll 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.

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Meet some of our members

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Run by travel people, for travel people

Recruitment Team
Our head office and field based recruitment team 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. They are responsible for bringing new members on board and nurturing them through the set up process to ensure they have the best possible solutions for their business. We also work in unison with our IG support, finance, commercial and training teams to ensure consistency and ongoing support now and moving forward.

New CJO website

Chris Oakes – Head of Hays Travel Independence Group

Tel: 07961 833 135 | chris.oakes@hays-travel.co.uk Twitter @HaysTravelIG

I started in the travel industry in 1988 in Corfu and moved on to be a manager in Greece, Spain, Gambia, Tunisia, Italy and Austria. I moved back to the UK in 1998 and then have worked for tour operators, call centres, retail, business travel and ancillary products before joining Hays Travel in 2014.  Away from work I love spending time with my family and I am getting back into the great outdoors with mountain biking and skiing two of my great passions. I look forward to hearing from any new members – everyone is different and unique and I will be happy to discuss your individual requirements.

imagesBespoke Training
We have an enviable award winning training team who 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. Once your business is up and running the training team  can continue to support your training needs and even help your staff to achieve NVQ status.

support-ImagesFriendly 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. From general queries to selling systems, commission rates or new staff set ups – the team are here to help support and guide you through. In addition we have our own intranet system the  IG Hub that you can access 247 x 365 so you have information as and when you need it at your fingertips.


Graduate-Assessment-hay_462Finance 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 supply you with your own online PDQ and merchant facilities and our state of the art selling system manages your bookings seamlessly through to our back office system without the need or resource for any manual intervention. All tour operator payments are processed in a timely manner and all reconciliation  is made from the UK so no delays or outsourcing to any third parties. Finally any incentives or overrides we have in place are paid by our payments team and we guarantee that as a Hays Independence Group member you are paid 100% of of any such incentives.

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Develop and grow your travel business…

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.

Foreign Exchange 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.

Annual Conference In addition to regular contact with your head office teams and IG support our 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. In November 2014 we had a fantastic response to our conference held at the Hotel Tivoli Victoria in Vilamoura in the Algarve, Portugal with some industry leading speakers. We have included some of the feedback below:-

“Conference never fails to inspire me and motivate me to do better – I am heading home buzzing and looking forward to going into work tomorrow!” Chris Brown – Owner – Hot Holidays

“Speakers on Sunday were really inspirational. Food, venue, hotel, conference and gala night were first class. Absolutely fab weekend best yet – thank you!” Tracy Mason – Director – Tracy Mason Travel

“Was simply the best Hays conference to date and one of the best travel conference I have attended” Danny Waine – Director – Perfect Weddings and Honeymoons

“Best overseas conference I have been to. Hays staff brilliant as always led by John and Irene” Richard Dixon – Director – Holidaysplease

“Best conference I have attended with Hays very professional – outstanding in every way” Philippa Smith – Owner – Brant Travel

“In 9 years as an IG member this was the best conference I have attended. Great venue, excellent speakers, fantastic atmosphere” Alan Haynes – Managing Director – Ultimate Destinations

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“Since joining have received extensive support and have been impressed by their willingness to listen to questions we have raised and improvements we have suggested. We would recommend any agency looking for a supportive and friendly consortium to speak to the Hays Travel Independence Group.” Robin Dellar – Managing Director of Imagine Cruising – member since 2006.

“After meeting the team, I was impressed with both the people and the technology. And, to my relief, there were no politics. The relationships with all members of the team at the Hays Travel Independence Group is good, and the support I have received in the time I have been a member has been excellent.” Miles Morgan – Director – Miles Morgan Travel – member since 2006.

“We operate a retail travel agency, serving the communities of North York and the surrounding areas. The company has been a member of Hays Travel Independence Group since October 2008, joining from another consortium, and it is one of the best decisions we have ever made.”  David Carruthers  – Director of Conexo Travel – member since 2008.

“I was relatively new to the travel industry when, with two business partners, we set up our business in 2007. The Hays Travel Independence Group was recommended to me and I have not been disappointed.” David Anton – Managing Partner at The Largs Travel Company – member since 2007.




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