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The UK’s fastest growing private companies: Hot 100 2015 – (100) Hays Travel

Since being established in 1980 by John Hays, Hays Travel has gone on to open 100 branches nationwide. Its late 2013 acquisition of Bath Travel – the south’s largest independent travel agent – reinforced the company’s position as the leading independent travel agent in the UK.
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Name: Hays Travel
Industry/Sector: Leisure and travel
Date founded: 1980
The boss: John Hays
Location: North East
Latest turnover: £253m
Three-year compound growth rate (%): 30.04
Latest EBITDA: £3.2m

Hays opened the first branch with no industry experience and with a desk at the back of his mother’s children’s wear shop in Durham. He then set up a second shop in Sunderland a couple of years later, which is where the company is headquartered today.

Proving the benefits of diversifying business, Hays now includes call centres, websites and a home-working division of over 400 agents.

In 1995 it developed the Hays Travel Independence Group – a consortium for independent retailers who want to benefit from the company’s back office expertise and buying power. It comprises of over 130 independent travel agents. The company now employs over 1,000 people.

A major plus point is its reliable provision of good value, quality holidays alongside good customer service. Hays has also said it’s “a company that cares”, with Inner City 100 status because of its engagement with local communities in the north east.

He also suggested that customers have continued turning to independent travel agents rather than high street national multiples because of the level of personal service and local knowledge provided. He also pointed to the “great deals which companies like ourselves can offer – and because of the way we do business”.

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