Homeworking giant InteleTravel has been granted an ATOL to allow its 10,500 UK agents to package their own holidays.
The US-based group has been waiting for the licence for two years, having been granted ABTA membership in March 2019.
Travel Gossip revealed last month that the group had been made a formal offer of an ATOL and it has spent the past few weeks finalising the paperwork with the Civil Aviation Authorty.
It says it has ‘a significant inventory’ of hotels in its back office and expects agents to use this to create packages with flights for their clients.
However, its initial licence limits it to just £4m of package holiday sales, with the remainder of its business booked with ATOL-protected partners.
Before being allowed to put together packages using its AOTL, existing InteleTravel agents will need to pass a test and receive a certificate to prove they have an in-depth understanding of their obligations, said an Intele spokesperson.
He said this will include the ATOL requirements for social media, advertising and promotions. New agents will have ATOL training as part of their induction process.
InteleTravel has an ‘intense’ mandatory training programme which is tracked and monitored, added the spokesperson. In addition to its twice-weekly webinar schedule, there is a full-day educational training every two months, mentoring sessions for newcomers to the industry, live events, partner networking and an annual conference, he said.
InteleTravel will monitor the sales of packaged holidays over the coming months before considering launching its own tour operation, he added.
“The granting of an ATOL is a major milestone for us and something that we have been working towards and preparing for, since before the pandemic,” said UK Director Tricia Handley-Hughes.
“We have demonstrated our robustness as a business and even through the pandemic, our revenues have risen 70% compared with the same period in 2019.
“During the pandemic, we’ve grown rapidly and focussed on training and education for our agents, and now have some of the most comprehensive training in the industry.
“We expect the granting of an ATOL will make InteleTravel even more appealing to those considering a career in the travel industry through the homeworking business model, creating a pipeline of new talent.”