Former Co-op staff set up 'industry first' admin service for agents

Former Co-op staff set up 'industry first' admin service for agents

Two former administration staff from The Co-operative Travel have set up a business to cut the amount independent travel agents spend on paperwork by a third.

Business partners in the business Dawn Gamble and Jill Kilgariff claim TravelAdmin4u is an "industry first" with no other company in the industry specifically offering administration fufilment for independent and call centre agents.

Gamble previously worked as team leader of The Co-operative Travel's back office administration department prior to its joint venture with Thomas Cook, looking after Freedom Travel Group members.

Most recently she helped set up Midcounties Co-operative's new agent consortium. Kilgariff worked on Gamble's team at The Co-operative Travel.

"We worked out no-one else was doing this and always had an idea to do this," said Gamble.

The company is now offering a service to independent agents and call centres to outsource some or all of their administration, including sending out tickets, confirmation and welcome home letters to customers, handling balance reminders, and overseeing finances.

Gamble said the company aimed to offer agents a low-cost way of completing their administration tasks, which are often left until last by agents busy working on holiday bookings.

She said: "We are aiming to save agents up to 30% of their current costs spent on administration. We know how independent agents work and they tend to leave administration until the last minute but it's a really important part of the business. You don't want to be overpaid for example and then be hit by a bill the next month."

The company, set up last month, already has at least four agents signed up with turnovers ranging from £2 million to £14 million and has moved into offices having been home based.

Gamble said: "We have grown faster than we expected. We had planned to work from home for longer but found we needed premises for meetings."

It is likely the company will have to employ staff if it has more than eight travel agency clients, added Gamble, who has already had calls from Thomas Cook Group staff facing redundancy.

Gamble said the company could look to help homeworkers needing administration help in future.


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