Dnata Travel Group is to begin a formal consultation with staff about a significant restructure of the business, including proposals to reduce headcount, merge Travel 2 and Gold Medal and close its Glasgow office.

The restructure to “right-size the organisation for the future and maximise opportunities to reduce complexities and duplications” would see the Gold Medal and Travel 2 functions merged under the single brand entity of Gold Medal, with the sub-brands Pure Luxury, Cruise Plus and Incredible Journeys retained.

The merger, if accepted following a 45-day consultation process, will see the centralisation of all operational, marketing and management functions in dnata’s Leyland office, along with the majority of the sales team.

The move would result in the closure of the Glasgow office, although the company said a number of homeworking roles would be created in Glasgow as a result of the changes.

Dnata said the proposals were the result of a wide-ranging strategic review started at the turn of the year and accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis. They cover both the B2B and B2C brands within the group.

All dnata Travel Group staff were briefed on the proposals by video conference on Thursday afternoon.

Suppliers, travel agent partners and consortia members of dnata Travel Group’s B2B brands, Gold Medal and Travel 2, and The Global Travel Group, have been notified of the proposed changes today, the company said.

Chief executive John Bevan, said: “The need for us to improve the efficiency of our organisation, create and build on synergies, simplify processes and reduce duplications has been evident to us for some time, and was the subject of a review we started late last year.

“However, we now find ourselves faced with an unprecedented set of circumstances that have forced us to accelerate the implementation of that review’s conclusions, and actually go even further. It is now critical we right-size our organisation and make ourselves stronger and more focused in the delivery of exceptional travel products and services to consumers and trade partners alike as our industry rebuilds.”

Commenting on the proposals regarding the B2B brands, managing director Lisa McAuley said: “We believe that the proposed consolidation of Travel2 with Gold Medal, and Simply Luxury to Pure Luxury, and the retention of the Cruise Plus and Incredible Journeys sub-brands, will create a number of exciting opportunities for us and our travel agent partners, while reducing costs and complexity. It will mean we retain our market-leading position, while enabling us to be more agile and focused on what we do best.”

She added: “The proposal will be given due consideration over the coming weeks and I want to reassure our travel agent and industry partners that our commitment to the trade will remain a cornerstone of the brands, and the unrivalled product portfolio and award-winning service for which we are renowned will stay at the forefront of our future plans.

“Our team has proactively reached out to all our partners today and will continue to keep them updated. In the meantime, things stay as they are and we will continue to work with them as we navigate the current disruption and eventual recovery.”

Dnata said there had been “a number of synergies and shared services representing both brands since the two became sisters under the ownership of dnata in 2014”, despite each retaining its own contact centre and brand identity.

McAuley continued: “The Gold Medal and Travel 2 teams in Leyland and Glasgow have always had a strong bond so this is a difficult day for them. Our priority at this point is supporting those team members who are directly affected by the implications of this proposal. Our people are our greatest assets and it is of the utmost importance to me that we are doing everything possible to assist them through the consultation process, and that it is conducted in a professional and sensitive manner.”

Bevan added: “This has been an incredibly difficult time for our people and they’ve risen to the challenge magnificently. They remain our primary focus and during the formal consultation that we launched today, we will be listening hard to their feedback to these proposals, providing them every opportunity we can to speak up, and giving them whatever support is necessary.

“We will continue to proactively engage with our valued agent partners, suppliers and consortia members to inform them of our plans, and how we expect to work with them in the future. I want to thank all those parties in advance for their support during this process, as well as their continued professionalism as we work to fulfil our obligations to customers whose travel plans have been disrupted by the pandemic, or who are keen to discuss future holidays with us.”

issue18june