Home-working group InteleTravel has hit out at critics in the trade and claims it offers “some of the most comprehensive training in the industry”.

The US-based firm, which said it had continued to grow in the UK despite the pandemic, said it released the figures in response to continued criticism within the trade about members’ product and industry knowledge and its business model.

In a press release, Inteletravel said it hosted virtual training sessions for nearly 2,300 of its agents in the three months to July, while 1,500 agents had attended exclusive courses run by supplier partners.

The company said it had delivered 15,000 hours of sales skills and product training between May and June, in addition to compulsory training on GDPR, Package Travel Regulations and Abta’s code of conduct, complaints and resolution procedures.

It insisted agents must achieve a 100% pass rate in all subjects before they can make bookings for the company, which gained Abta approval in March 2019.

Tricia Handley-Hughes, UK director, said: “We offer some of the most comprehensive training in the industry and our agents are extremely committed, with many keen to attend courses during the day and evenings. Criticism of them is unjustified.”

She said that it was true that “determined” new members, often with little experience of the travel industry, could be selling holidays within a few months under InteleTravel’s model but stressed: “Even people with 30 years’ experience started somewhere.  Our agents are committed to continual improvement and genuinely enjoy the education ethics of the business.”

Independent industry trainer Debbee Dale, owner of Debbee Dale Development, carried out an audit of InteleTravel in early 2019 and now provides ongoing training for the company’s agents.

She said: “When I’ve delivered full-day seminars you don’t get a moment’s peace because agents constantly have questions.  On my first webinar I had 800 attending.

“There is a lot of snobbery in the business, but in my experience they are really inquisitive, have a real thirst for knowledge and a desire to be part of a professional group.”

Handley-Hughes also insisted that InteleTravel has no ownership or control of PlanNet Marketing, whose representatives sell the company’s home-based agent programme.

“We are merely business partners,” said Handley. “PlanNet sells a product and earns a commission for selling a product. We are a manufacturer and they are acting as a distributor.  It’s very straightforward. The gossip and rumour is just that – gossip and rumour.”

More at: Big Interview: InteleTravel’s James Ferrara