Hays Travel has reaffirmed its commitment to the high-street and is hopeful traditional agents could see a boost in business once the pandemic is over.

The UK’s largest independent agency now has around 600 shops after acquiring 20-branch Welsh agency Tailor Made Travel, and has said it will be keeping most open.

The number of homeworking travel agents working for Hays Travel has also increased from 300 to 400 since the start of lockdown earlier this year.

Joint owner John Hays said: “We think people will always want to book with real people. There will always be people who want to book with other human beings.”

He added: “We feel that the high street and homeworkers, the personalised sector, could potentially get a boost from this.”

Hays pointed out the company had received high client satisfaction ratings during the pandemic from Money Saving Expert in comparison with many online travel agents which received ‘minus’ scores.

“It’s been very difficult for all of us but what people value is having real people to look after them. Our staff have worked fantastically hard to save a save where possible. But if they couldn’t, it was about refunding as quickly as we could,” he said.

Irene Hays said staff had found innovative ways to keep in touch with customers, such as providing recipes for local dishes eaten in the destinations the company was promoting deals to.