Travel Leaders brands Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group have completed the expansion of their UK office in London.
The office, in St Martins Lane near Leicester Square has expanded by roughly 50%, creating room for the firms’ travel advisors to come in for meetings with suppliers or clients.
Travel advisors, support staff and industry partners joined the senior leadership team at the office for a party to celebrate the expansion on Thursday night.
Both Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group have operated in the UK for ten years, and moved into the site five years ago. Between them, they have around 100 travel advisors who specialise in luxury travel for the leisure, corporate and entertainment industry markets.
Jason Oshiokpekhal, managing director or Protravel, Tzell Travel and Colletts Travel, which Travel Leaders acquired in 2017, said the office expansion marked a “new chapter” for the brands in the UK.
He said: “We have grown and that growth has been organic. We realised over the last year and a half that we needed more space to support our growth.
“We have grown in number of travel advisors, who are electing to come into the office more often, and who are building up their teams and who want the semi-flexible option to have staff based here.
“Part of the reason for this expansion is in direct response to needing more space. More advisors started coming into the office more often and bringing in their staff. It’s become a collective space, a place to share ideas.”
Becky Powell, president of Protravel, said its agents want a flexible working pattern that allows homeworking as well as the option of an office environment.
She said: “The perception is that advisors want to work from home. We saw a period where that was the case, but what we’ve noticed recently is that they want an office where they can connect, whether that’s meeting suppliers, other advisors or their clients.”
Monty Swaney, president of Tzell Travel, compared the expanded office to a WeWork space for the firm’s agents. “It means so much to the advisors,” he added.
Oshiokpekhal said there was no set target for growth in terms of the number of agents the firms were looking to recruit, but said the number of new advisors it had signed up in the last year was in double digits.
“We have a comprehensive recruitment strategy, and we need to make sure that the people we are recruiting are the right people.”
He said that the company had “learned a lot from Barrhead Travel”, which it acquired in 2018 and has 76 retail travel agencies in the UK.
Technology has been shared and the buying power of both companies has increased due to the enhanced scale, Oshiokpekhal explained, adding that some Barrhead staff have taken roles in the expanded office.
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