Hays Travel sees 347% increase in enquiries in 'incredibly busy week' after roadmap announcement

Hays Travel saw a 347% increase in enquiries since Boris Johnson outlined the Government’s roadmap for lifting covid restrictions, owner Dame Irene Hays has revealed.

The holiday company boss, who was made a Dame in the New Year’s Honours, paid tribute to staff at Hays Travel, who she says are having “an incredibly busy week” after the Prime Minister made the announcement on February 22.

She said an additional 200 staff had been drafted in to deal with demand and that new apprentices had been employed. Dame Irene was speaking in an interview with the BBC.

It has been a difficult time for Hays Travel. The company took over the ailing Thomas Cook in October 2019, only for the pandemic to strike just months later, with lockdown following in March 2020.

Dame Irene Hays with her late husband John. Picture by Kevin Brady.

But the company he founded is fighting back, and Dame Irene says nothing would have pleased him more.

“He’d be delighted. He’d also be delighted with the hard work that the teams at Hays Travel have put in to make sure we were ready for a bounce-back,” she said in the BBC interview.

“All of the commentators have said that travel will be in the top three industries to bounce back. So we’ve just done the very best we can to be ready for our customers.

"The staff across the country have been phenomenally flexible; so a huge tribute to them and to the teams at head office in Sunderland.”

Speaking of John’s passing, she said: “We had more than 220,000 messages for John and Sunderland City Council kindly lit up all our monuments in the Hays Travel colours.

“What that’s done for me and all the staff – we’re a very close-knit family – has given us added motivation and determination to carry his wonderful legacy into the future.”

Dame Irene is advising people to book their holidays early, whichever firm they use, as prices are expected to rise.

She has booked three holidays for herself. One is a trip to the Amazon in 2022. She and John had always intended to go there together.

She will now go alone, but added: “It will be for both of us.”

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