Our Story

Hays Travel, the UK’s largest independent travel agent, specialises in providing good value, quality holidays alongside excellent customer service.

From the minute we opened our first small retail shop in Seaham, Co Durham, I was hooked - I fell in love with the travel industry.

The company has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Today, we are proud to be the UK’s largest independent travel agent, our annual turnover is more than £1 billion, and we employ close to 5,000 people.

Across the country we have more than 700 retail shops and over 250 experienced travel agents who work from their homes. Our head office in Sunderland city centre employs more than 500 people. We also run the Hays Travel Independence Group; a consortium of independent travel retailers who benefit from Hays Travel’s buying power, technology and back office expertise.

The company underwent rapid growth when we took on the former Thomas Cook retail network in October 2019. Along with the shops we were lucky to also gain thousands of talented and experienced people. However, we remain on a recruitment drive to support the ever-growing business.

Hays Travel is a company that cares. Our staff get involved in local community partnership projects on a regular basis and we’ve been awarded the prestigious Investors in People Silver status. One of my proudest achievements is our inclusion in the Sunday Times’ list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the UK. I know that the business would not be where it is without the wonderful people who work here and I am very proud of the individuals and teams who make it a very special place to work. I appreciate them all on a daily basis.

Fully ABTA and ATOL bonded, we’re able to offer our customers complete financial security, and our independent status means we really can offer impartial advice to find them the perfect holiday. We work with hundreds of suppliers to ensure this.

Well-travelled and trained, our staff pride themselves in providing excellent customer service to every client who trusts us with their holiday arrangements. Our independence means we have access to a wide choice of tour operators and airlines, and we always endeavour to find the perfect holiday for the best possible price. As well as finding people their ideal holiday, we arrange all the extras like car hire, transfers, and insurance. There’s a foreign exchange bureau in the majority of our branches across the UK, where customers can pick up commission free currency before they set off on holiday.

As we’re constantly expanding, we’re always looking for people to join the team. People who, like us, are passionate about the industry. People who want to enjoy the rewards of their work. People who want to share in the success of a company which continues to go from strength to strength.

I hope as you browse the rest of this website you get more of a feel for what we’re about here at Hays and if you think that a career with us could be for you then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our recruitment team who will talk you through the next steps.

Looking forward to meeting you soon.

John Hays

Our Smile Values


“When people support each other incredible things happen”


“A motivated person is someone who is inspired, appreciated and does far more than is expected”


“It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen”


“Respect is earned, honesty is appreciated, trust is gained, and loyalty is returned”


“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well”

Our Awards


Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For

Hays Travel has been included in the list for the past four consecutive years.

50 Best Places to Work in the North East

Hays Travel came in 12th position in the final list for 2019.

North East Business Awards

Hays Travel won the Top Apprenticeship Employer award.

Agent Achievement Awards

Hays Travel was awarded Large High Street Agency of the Year, Large London and South East England Agency, and Large Yorkshire, North Midland and North East England Agency


Investors in People Awards

Hays Travel won the National Apprentice Employer of the Year award.

British Travel Awards

Hays Travel won the silver award for Best Large Independent Travel Agency and is shortlisted for the 2019 Best National Travel Agency award.

National Apprenticeship Awards

Hays Travel won the North East Large Employer of the Year award, while apprentice Alex Turner-Davis scooped Advanced Apprentice of the Year.

North East Employee of the Year awards

Middlesbrough-based apprentice, Faye Robinson, was crowned Apprentice of the Year, whilst South Shields branch manager, Debbie Howe, was awarded the Making a Difference in the Community title.