Travel company pays staff £1.2k cost-of-living allowance

By Lisa James
Home » Travel company pays staff £1.2k cost-of-living allowance

Trade-only operator USAirtours is giving its staff an allowance of £1,200 to help with the rising cost of living.

Founder and CEO Guy Novik said the cash will reward staff who stayed with the company during COVID as well as attract new staff to fill vacancies.

Guy said: “The past two pandemic years have caused the travel industry to lose a fortune and made it very difficult for companies to find the extra reserves to reward staff and pay bonuses.

“Now that we are growing again, we not only want to retain the amazing staff who got us through the toughest trading period I’ve experienced but also attract talented and experienced individuals to join our team.

“Introducing this new working from home allowance will help us achieve that.”

The new benefit, which is being described as a ‘working from home allowance’, but which has been introduced ‘to help with the rising cost of living’, will be introduced from 1 October, in time for winter fuel bills and will be paid at the rate of £100 per month, or pro rata if staff work fewer contracted hours.

Guy said the benefit is contractual and will continue indefinitely.

USAirtours cut staff numbers from 83 to 32 during COVID. Staff numbers are now up to 50 and the operator plans to recruit around five more by the end of the year.

Guy said: “Further recruitment next year will depend on the state of the economy and customer demand. Business continues to recover well for bookings for next year, particularly to Florida and California fly-drives.

“I am delighted to see so many of our staff re-join us, particularly as the current skills-shortage meant they had many other job options but they still chose to return to us, which is much appreciated.

In April, USAirtours said it was introducing a dedicated sales support team with it own phone number to make it easier for agents to get through to after agents said they found it difficult to get hold of anyone during the pandemic.

At the time, he said the staff he’d been able to keep on were ‘heroes’ who’d had to put up with a lot.

And he admitted: “We certainly dropped the ball during the pandemic.”

He told Travel Gossip: “Our new sales support department is now available for agents to talk to and has proved popular with agents. This has also reduced the average on hold to under three minutes.”

He added that, although economic forecasts for next year are downbeat, the market will not be as challenging as it was during the pandemic.

“Despite the gloomy economic forecast predicting that the size of outbound travel market will shrink next year, we will continue to find ways to grow our small slice of the pie,” he said.

“Trading through another recession will be like a walk in the park compared to the recent COVID challenge.”

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