Thomas Cook India & SOTC’s Travel Business Associate freelance agent model registers rapid growth post pandemic

  • Model designed to tap into the new reality of the “Gig” economy and help extend distribution reach and capability via personal networks

  • Unique distribution model aligns freelancer/entrepreneurial individuals with the Companies’ extensive branch network to offer a flexible business opportunity

  • Associates are trained to sell the entire range of services from flights, hotels, holidays, forex, holiday card, etc. to personal/professional networks to supplement their existing business income

Mumbai, September 15, 2022: Thomas Cook (India) Limited – India’s leading omnichannel travel services company and its Group Company, SOTC Travel’s youngest distribution network is a unique Travel Business Associate (TBA) model, providing individuals irrespective of age, an opportunity to supplement their income while working from home without being bound by the need to report to offices or keep time schedules.

Rapidly adapting to the accelerated demand for flexible jobs and the rise of the gig economy, the unique hub and spoke model of the Travel Business Associate network, connects aspiring entrepreneurial individuals with the Companies’ extensive retail branch network. The Associate is then aided by the branch to close sales and earn attractive commissions.

The TBA model has seen an impressive sales growth of 10x since inception in 2018 and has already surpassed its pre-pandemic sales. With over 300 partners on-boarded, the Companies now aim to scale up the business to maximise on this high potential model.

While the pandemic adversely impacted businesses and resulted in job losses for many, Thomas Cook and SOTC’s Travel Business Associate model provided a valuable pivot, allowing individuals the flexibility of working at their own pace, from the convenience/safety of their homes.
Further, the TBA model does not require upfront payment/deposits or investment in any physical office. The income generated is variable – based on conversion of referrals into a sale for the Companies.

The model has witnessed strong interest especially from homemakers, women taking sabbaticals or forced to stay at home due to domestic family transfers, self-made women entrepreneurs, new mothers (comprising 50% of the Companies’ TBA workforce); also retired individuals, small business owners, insurance agents, mutual fund distributors, etc.

Range of Products included in the TBA model: Holidays – International & Domestic; Foreign Exchange; Holiday Card; MICE & School Groups, etc.

Post the simple online sign-up process, Thomas Cook and SOTC align each Business Associate to the Companies’ closest branch and equip them with adequate training, tools and technology, to create new customer opportunities through the associate’s personal connections and references. The Travel Business Associate can choose to be actively or passively involved in a sale process, post lead generation.

Mr. Abraham Alapatt, President & Group Head – Marketing, Service Quality, Value Added Services & Innovation, Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC Travel said, “The strategic intent was to build a simple hub and spoke model aligning individual Associates to our local branches and backing them with training, tools and technology to create a new customer-market opportunity. The Travel Business Associate model is based on personal connections and references with no fixed costs and consequently a non-linear cost line that lends itself perfectly to rapid scalability, especially in a post-pandemic recovery period. What is noteworthy is that, in an era witnessing rapid rise of the gig economy where individuals seek flexibility, we are emphasizing on creating equal opportunities and I am delighted to state that nearly 50% of our Travel Business Associate workforce comprise of women – new mothers, homemakers, self-made women entrepreneurs; equally retired individuals, small business owners, mutual fund distributors.
He added, “Our Travel Business Associate model has witnessed sustained interest from Associates, growing by 10x, and has already surpassed pre-pandemic levels. We aim to optimize its potential and further grow our business in the post-pandemic era.”

About Thomas Cook (India) Limited: Set up in 1881, Thomas Cook (India) Limited. (TCIL) is the leading omnichannel travel company in the country offering a broad spectrum of services including Foreign Exchange, Corporate Travel, MICE, Leisure Travel and Value Added Services. It operates leading B2C and B2B brands including Thomas Cook, SOTC, TCI, SITA, Asian Trails, Allied T Pro, Australian Tours Management, Desert Adventures, Luxe Asia, Travel Circle International Limited (TCI 勝景遊), Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited, Distant Frontiers, TC Tours, Digiphoto Entertainment Imaging (DEI), Go Vacation, Private Safaris East & South Africa

As one of the largest travel service provider networks headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region, The Thomas Cook India Group spans 28 countries across 5 continents

TCIL has been felicitated with CNBC-TV18 & ICICI Lombard India Risk Management Award – Travel & Leisure Category 2022 & 2021, The Best Travel Agency – India at TTG Travel Awards 2019, The Best Outbound Tour Operator at the Times Travel Awards 2018 & 2019 and Leading Company with Cutting Edge Travel Innovation at the Times Travel Awards 2018, Silver award for Asia’s Best Integrated Report (First Time) category at the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2019, Best Risk Management-Framework & Systems at the India Risk Management Awards 2019; Best Cash Management Solution – India at the Asset Triple A Treasury, Trade, Supply Chain & Risk Management Awards 2018, Best Outbound Tour Operator at the SATTE Awards 2019, Excellence in Domestic Tour Operations at the SATTE Awards 2018, The French Ambassador’s Award for Exemplary Achievements in Visa Issuance 5 years in a row and the Condé Nast Traveller – Readers’ Travel Awards from 2011 to 2019.

CRISIL has reaffirmed the rating on debt programmes and bank facilities of Thomas Cook (India) Limited – ‘CRISIL A+/Negative on the long-term bank facilities of TCIL and CRISIL A1 rating on the short-term bank facilities and short- term debt of the Company.
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Fairbridge Capital (Mauritius) Limited, a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited promotes TCIL by holding 72.34% of its paid-up capital and is responsible for the execution of acquisition and investment opportunities.

About Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited: Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited is a holding company which, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and investment management. Founded in 1985 by the present Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Prem Watsa, the company is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Its common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol FFH and in U.S. dollars under the symbol FFH.U.

About Subsidiaries of Thomas Cook (India) Limited:
Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of TCIL, is a leading Indian Leisure Hospitality company with 37 resorts across the country, providing a variety of offerings: Leisure holidays through FIT packages, Meetings & Conferences, Weddings, Reunions, Picnics and Holidays through Memberships.
SOTC Travel Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of TCIL, is a leading omnichannel travel and tourism company active across various travel segments including Leisure Travel, Incentive Travel and Business Travel.
Travel Corporation (India) Limited (TCI), a wholly owned subsidiary of TCIL, is the leading Destination Management Company in India that offers tailor-made travel and related services to India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
Thomas Cook India Group holds 51% stake in DEI Holdings Limited (DEI), one of the world’s leading imaging solutions and services providers.

About SOTC Travel: SOTC Travel Limited is a step-down subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings held through its Indian listed subsidiary, Thomas Cook (India) Limited (TCIL). SOTC India is a leading omnichannel travel and tourism company active across various travel segments including Leisure Travel, Incentive Travel and Business Travel. SOTC was established in 1949. Since then, it has escorted millions of travellers across the globe for more than 70 years to various destinations around the world. A new age innovative holidaymaker, SOTC strives to make holidays a priority for every Indian. ‘We are for holidays’ and we want Indians to prioritize their holidays.

This article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as a Press Release.

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