After acquiring all 555 Thomas Cook Stores, Hays Travel, the UK’s largest independent travel agent, has already reopened 123 of the stores and taken on almost 1,800 former Cook staff.

YAY, to happy news. It’s like a rainbow after the storm that blew up only a couple of weeks ago.

Hays Travel owners John and Irene Hays say they have committed to opening many stores as they logistically can, as soon as possible.

The company is pulling together and working hard to get the stores rebranded and back open.

100 of the 123 rebranded stores opened the doors on Friday alone, so it’s looking promising for ex-cook staff to join the Hays family.

READ: 2500 JOBS SAVED: Hays Travel Buys All 555 Thomas Cook Stores

READ: KINDNESS COUNTS: Thomas Cook Passengers Raise Thousands For Staff


Hays Travel saves the day!

Karry On - Hays Travel

As well as buying all 555 and reopening 123 of those stores, Hays set up a dedicated UK recruitment helpline (0800 215 5995) over the weekend to help as many former Thomas Cook staff back into work as soon as possible.

“Thomas Cook was a much-loved brand employing talented people. We look forward to working with many of them.”

John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chair of Hays Travel

Friday was an important day in Hays history, as it also saw the first Hays branding rolled out to an ex-Cook store at The Bridges Shopping Centre branch in Sunderland.

There were celebrations at the Debenhams Centre in South Shields last Thursday (10 October), as the first booking for a Hays Travel holiday at a former Cook store was made.

“We are delighted to have welcomed customers back into the stores, started rebranding and booked our first holidays already and that’s a tribute to our great people who have stopped at nothing to make this happen.”

John and Irene Hays, managing director and group chair of Hays Travel


Why are Bricks ‘n’ Mortar stores so important?

As humans, we crave connection, and trust in relationships; we thrive off emotive conversations with real people. This is one of the many reasons travel agents ‘still exist’.

It may sound like a cliché, but travel agents quite literally make dreams come true. You guys make it happen, with your shining personalities, passion for the destinations you sell and exceptional organisation skills.

Brick & Mortar stores are part of the holiday magic and I believe they always will be. Some of my favourite childhood memories were sitting with my family in our local Thomas Cook store back in England, planning and booking our next holiday. It was all so exciting and our kind and extremely patient travel agent was the main reason these experiences were so memorable.

A computer or robot simply cannot offer the personable service you can – and that will never change.

So take a moment to cheers your well-deserved coffee with your colleagues and appreciate each other as the incredible travel professionals, and humans, that you are!

Travel agents 4LYF.