Homeworking travel agents from The Personal Travel Agents at Co-Operative Travel have been lending parents a helping hand with homeschooling via social media.

The homeworking group’s head office team has created a cartoon character called Tom The Traveller, who has puzzles, games, quizzes and brain teasers for children.

A new travel-themed puzzle has been created every day, seven days a week, and has included wordsearches, spot the difference, fill in the blanks, flag quizzes, geography quizzes and wildlife knowledge puzzles.

The initiative is designed to entertain and educate little children following school closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Each PTA is encouraged to share Tom The Traveller and his resources via their own social channels.

More: Coronavirus latest news and updates

Travel’s Good Deed Feed

PTAs who were looking to keep their followers engaged and remain sensitive to the evolving situation welcomed the initiative.

Laura Bennett, who joined The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel in March 2019 after 15 years on the high street with Thomas Cook, said: “Tom The Traveller is a fantastic way to engage with my customers at this time. It’s a clever and positive way to maintain a presence in my clients’ newsfeeds, whilst giving those who are at home with children, a helping hand in keeping the little ones occupied. The puzzles also keep everyone dreaming of their next holiday.”

The puzzles have been subtly branded with The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel logo, and Laura has found two ways to use the puzzles to market her business to potential new customers.

“One of my customers is a teacher and she loved the idea and the content so much that the puzzles are now being shared with the parents of all the children at her school. I’ve heard that parents are printing them out for their children and some are using them digitally.

“I also paid a small amount of money to sponsor a Tom The Traveller post via my Facebook, to reach and entertain a new audience. For around US$10, my post was seen 5,000+ times and I’ve started getting new likes and followers. Time will tell if this will bring new customers. Right now I’m just pleased to see the community around us growing closer and people helping small businesses like mine.”

Fellow PTA David Russo, who has 1,149 followers for his business page on Facebook, has seen his sharing of the ‘Tom The Traveller’ posts reach 4,462+ unique users. Measured by likes, comments and shares, David’s Facebook post engagement has increased by 19 per cent since the initiative began.

“My family and I love the ‘Tom The Traveller’ posts,” he said “They’re something different and quirky for my followers. My partner works at a school and she loves the educational aspect. I’m conscious that posting mainly about deals and offers at a time when many people are facing financial difficulties and uncertainties may come across as somewhat inconsiderate. The posts give me a chance to interact with my clients in a positive way and helps show them that I’m still here for them, helping in their lives where I can.”

Sheena Whittle, head of The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel, said: “The situation the industry finds itself in is a huge challenge, particularly for self-employed homeworkers. We have increased our support to ensure we can keep our agents but the support also extends to emotional and financial. The camaraderie has been heart-warming with the team sharing many acts of kindness. Social media initiatives like the engaging ‘Tom The Traveller’ educational assets are one way for our agents to pass on the kindness and help their followers with children at home, which have been extremely well received.”

The series of social media posts featuring Tom The Traveller is set to run until 9 April. After this, the full set of puzzles will be available via a PDF download to print and share widely.