Hays Travel has announced a multi-million pound partnership with cruise agent World Travel Holdings.
Hays, the UK’s largest independent travel agent, will have its cruise business, outside of the Hays Travel Independence Group, managed by World Travel Holdings – including the company’s website, call centres and cruise representation in the company’s 43 stores.
James Cole will be charged with heading up World Travel Holdings (UK) Ltd and the cruise division of Hays Travel.
The deal will also see the creation of a joint venture – managed by Mal Barritt – specialising in long haul travel, SixStarHolidays.co.uk.
Barritt and Cole will be joined by John and Irene Hays on the board of the new company.
James Cole, co-founder and co-CEO of World Travel Holdings UK, said: “We are delighted to have agreed this deal with Hays Travel. Our business is built on a foundation of entrepreneurship and customer service, which are both qualities steeped in the history and current ways of working at Hays Travel.
“We are looking forward to a very exciting and profitable relationship.”
World Travel Holdings UK, operates brands including Cruise118.com, SixStarCruises.co.uk, Cruises.com and RiverVoyages.com.
John Hays, Founder and Managing Director of Hays Travel, said: “We have worked with James Cole, Mal Barritt and Jeff Tolkin (CEO of World Travel Holdings) for over a year now on the development of parts of their fast growing cruise business within the Hays Travel Independence Group.
“It has been a delight to work with such dynamic, ambitious and talented people. As well as being a lot of fun – a criterion which has always been important to us! I am delighted to be extending our working relationship in this way, which fits with Hays Travel’s strategy of partnering with ‘best in class’. Our team are all very excited at the prospects.”
The two companies boast a combined turnover of over GBP1 billion.