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72: Hays Travel

John Hays founded his business 28 years ago from the back office of his mother’s childrenswear shop in County Durham. Today, with a turnover of £76.6m and a staff of 800, Hays Travel is Britain’s largest independently owned travel agent.

The business has grown consistently from day one, largely because Hays has found innovative ways to keep up momentum. Hays Travel allows 100 independent UK operators to trade under its licensing agreements, giving them access to its buying power and back-office technology. It also operates Forex4Agents, a service that allows agents foreign exchange without putting pressure on their cashflow.

This year, the business is hatching an ambitious expansion plan, which will see its base in the North East spread into the East Midlands, with 30 new branches opening.


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