Hays Travel’s takeover of Miles Morgan Travel ‘good news for everybody’

Miles Morgan Travel has “an exciting future” following the agency’s surprise acquisition by Hays Travel, according to managing director Mandy Shillito.

Hays Travel owner Dame Irene Hays has pledged it will be “business as usual”, with no plans to rebrand the agency – previously a member of Hays Travel Independence Group.

The addition of the miniple’s 19 branches brings the number of shops in Hays Travel’s retail estate to almost 490.


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Shillito said: “The takeover could not have gone more smoothly and we all look forward to working closely with the Hays Travel family.

“Miles Morgan Travel and Hays Travel are two great businesses, and we all have an exciting future.”

Founder Miles Morgan, who has retired from the sector, said the businesses could learn from each other.

Alan Bowen, Association of Atol Companies advisor, believes the deal is good news for Miles Morgan Travel and the wider industry despite representing further consolidation.

“Miles Morgan Travel has been an independent member of Hays for years, so Hays clearly knows the state of the business and will think it [the takeover] a very good idea,” he said. “It’s an incredibly successful business. The Miles Morgan Travel market is rather different to that of Hays.

It is further consolidation. The days of independent travel agents are beginning to draw to a close

“I would expect it would open up Hays to tour operators they had not been selling, so potentially mean more business for operators. It could be very good news for everybody.”

He added: “It is further consolidation. The days of independent travel agents are beginning to draw to a close. Many [independents] are looking for someone else to take over.”

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, attracted scores of personal tributes for Morgan following his decision to retire after 30-plus years in the sector.

Shillito said she felt “honoured and privileged” to have worked alongside Morgan, commenting: “I feel the luckiest person alive to have had the opportunity to work with you so closely and for so long. We have laughed and cried, had good times and tough ones. You are such an inspiration and have impacted positively on so many lives.”

More than 100 industry colleagues posted in response to Morgan’s retirement announcement on Facebook, with well-known agents thanking Morgan for inspiring and helping them in their careers.

Designer Travel managing director Amanda Matthews said: “You have been such a great support to me over the years, especially those Covid years.” Ponders Travel managing director Clare Dudley added: “When my chips were down, you kindly listened and guided me back to believe in myself. You are, for many of us, an inspiration.”

Jeanne Lally, joint managing director at Travel Bureau, who worked with Morgan at Tui, said: “Miles is one of the most entrepreneurial and commercially astute colleagues I’ve worked with: calm, supportive and with a great sense of humour. The industry is richer for his contribution.”

Morgan said he was humbled by the comments, and noted how consolidation, a reduction in holiday reps and recruitment issues had led to fewer “big personalities” in the sector.

However, he added: “The business strategy on the day I left MMT was almost exactly the same as the day I started on December 18, 2006. [The target market] proved to be the sweet spot that everyone is after: the retired and affluent.”

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