Mel’s Travel one-year anniversary
We recently spoke to Mel Robson from Mel’s Travel to celebrate her one-year anniversary with Independence Group and discuss her success since joining.

Mel said: “Wow, what a whirlwind of a year! I questioned whether I was being extremely brave or totally mad setting up as a new agency during a pandemic, but you can’t get anywhere in life without taking a risk, right?! Starting a new business at the best of times is a difficult task, but starting a travel business during a travel ban was a bold move. But I am so pleased that I did!

“This last year has been like a rollercoaster of emotions, I have had so many obstacles to overcome with cancellations, debts, traffic lights, testing requirements, etc. - the list goes on! But it’s certainly had its highs too. My business is going from strength to strength. I now have a part-time assistant manager and an apprentice, and I am also looking to employ another full-time agent before Christmas, ready for peaks.

“I love travelling myself and the pandemic was difficult for me having to cancel a lot of plans but I have started making up for that already! I spent a long weekend in Majorca in July and have actually just this morning returned from an incredible ‘seacation’ on Disney' Magic at Sea. Wow, a truly magical experience! Being a huge Disney fan and regular traveller to Walt Disney World® Resort, this was such a unique experience to be able to board a Disney cruise only 40 minutes’ drive from my home! It’s definitely helped with my Disney fix until I get back there in April!

“Since mid-July we have been very busy with new business and have seen a huge increase in sales over the last seven weeks. We still receive numerous calls, messages, and people popping into the store every day asking for advice regarding testing, a lot of whom had previously booked their travel elsewhere. Although not ideal, we will always go above and beyond to help every customer where we can, and this has resulted in converting a lot of these people into our own customers. They have been so grateful for our advice and help that they have gone on to book other travel packages with us. We really pride ourselves on going that extra mile for our customers. With the majority of current business being late deals, this obviously helps with cash flow, and, although I am still working on a very minimal wage myself at the moment, I am so grateful that within 12 months of operating I am able to pay my staff wages, fees, and other bills without my business account going into debt.

“I am so excited to see what the future brings and so grateful to have had such a successful first year!”

From all the Independence Group team we want to say a massive well done to Mel’s Travel for an extremely successful first year.
Introducing the newest members of our team
We are very excited to announce some new appointments to our team, including our new Head of Independence, Natasha Marson. We’re also delighted to welcome Leanne Edwards and Helen Williamson to the team, who have taken on the roles of business development managers for the central and south UK regions of the Independence Group, with a further appointment to cover the north due to be announced soon.

Jonathon Woodall, Hays Travel’s chief operating officer, who was head of Independence Group in his previous role, said: “I’m delighted that Natasha has taken on the job; she is already making a positive impact on the Independence Group.

“We have seen a significant spike in interest to join from a variety of entrepreneurs both new to the industry as a result of the pandemic, and existing well-established businesses. Our investment in this new team is testament to our commitment to our members and the travel industry.”

Marson added: “It is so incredibly satisfying to be able to talk to such a variety of companies. Every chief executive or owner is different and our aim is to help them succeed in their own way.

“The new team will strengthen the already fantastic Independence Group support team based in Sunderland, by being on the road offering tailored support to new and existing members, building mutually beneficial relationships, and sharing their extensive knowledge of our products and systems.

“I am delighted to welcome both Leanne and Helen into the Independence Group family and they are equally as excited to get started and meet our members.”
Not Just Travel win Hays Travel Independence Group's Outstanding Achievement Award
At our recent overseas conference held at H10 Andalucia Plaza in Marbella, Not Just Travel scooped our prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award on what was a great awards night. As well as winning the main accolade, Not Just Travel were awarded a handful of other supplier awards recognising their fantastic hard work over the past year. We would like to wish Steve, Paul & the team at Not Just Travel a huge congratulations, we have watched your phenomenal growth and look forward to what you have in store for 2018!
Travel Weekly Agent Achievement Awards 2017
Here’s John Hays receiving the best Large High Street Agency award from Stephen Mulhern at the Travel Weekly Agent Achievement awards last night.

This is a national award, which Hays Travel was nominated for along with other big names like Thomson Holidays and Thomas Cook.

A fantastic achievement for everyone at Hays Travel, that we are very proud of!
Ultimate Destinations Scoop Prestigious Award
Congratulations to Alan & the team at Ultimate Destinations, for winning Carrier's Preferred Partner Award at Carrier's Preferred Partner Awards last week at an event held at the swanky Bulgari Hotel in London! A fantastic achievement for all the hard work the team put in. Pictured we have Andy, Alan & Debbie from the shop. Well done for all in IG Head Office!