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

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. 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 – 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.

Simple 3 step join up:

  • Enter details online: Thomas Cook; SOTC
  • Screening process with documentation
  • Confirmation

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.”

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.