Hays Travel expansion continues, writes Sam Ballard.
Hays Travel is to open 10 stores before Christmas as the agency continues its massive expansion drive.
The new stores include premises in Ashton-under-Lyme, Bury, Cheadle, Oldham and Rochdale.
In a wide-ranging interview with ABTA Magazine, John Hays, the company’s founder, revealed that the group would have an operational network of 180 stores before the peak selling season begins in January, as well as more than 250 homeworkers on board.
“My view on the high street is that some things are timeless,” Hays explained. “High-quality, personalised service – and it must add value. I always ask my staff a rhetorical question, which is, ‘Why should a customer book with you?’ There has to be a reason.”
Earlier in the year, the company celebrated recording £1 billion of revenue for the first time. At the time, John Hays announced live on Facebook that staff would each receive £100 for every year they have worked for the company.
“The staff are the biggest reason we reached £1 billion,” Hays added. “We have second-year apprentices who were awarded £100 right up to a number of people who have done 30 years with us and received £3,000.”
When asked about how he motivated his staff, Hays cited two crucial factors: the apprenticeship scheme and a policy
of hiring from within.
“Our apprenticeship scheme has been going on for years – almost since the start,” he explained. “Over the years, we have developed a good reputation for developing apprentices giving them good training and the opportunity for a good career. This year we took 150 more apprentices on and received more than 3,000 applications for those positions. That’s 20 young people for every advertised position.
“We have a company policy of always promoting from within whenever we can,” he added. “When you look at how many new shops we’re opening up, you can see how many opportunities exist for our staff [numbers] to grow.
“Those opportunities keep the team motivated. In a lot of our shops – I would say more than half – every single one of our team, from the manager down, would have joined us as an apprentice straight from school. When apprentices see that clear career progression, it really helps.”