Renting out desks to test provider a ‘lifesaver’, says agency boss

A travel agent says a deal with a Covid-19 testing provider to rent out desk space and give staff extra work is proving a ‘lifesaver’ for her business during the pandemic.

Tivoli Travel is one of 200 agency members in The Travel Network Group which has signed up to earn extra cash by offering their premises and staff to Covid-19 testing organisations.

It comes as agents face the problem of immediate cashflow and how to survive until they get paid commissions on 2022 bookings.

Tivoli Travel’s branches in Mirfield and Holmfirth are both being offered as locations for testing provider Eurofin for consumers to drop off or do their tests in branch. Eurofin is renting a desk at each agency, manned by a member of Tivoli staff, until the end of the year. There is a private space at each agency for clients to take the test.

Director Jo Richards said the deal meant her staff, who work part-time, were able to earn extra cash by working on their days off for the testing provider while the agency has been able to get extra revenue by renting out desk space to the organisation. All four staff, including Richards, are working for Eurofin at various, different times five times a week.

She said: “This has been a lifesaver for us because it means we have got some more money coming in for the next six months. It’s a good amount and clears off any debt we had.

“We get paid an hourly rate and they rent the desks from us. It means the staff can earn extra while on furlough and when they come off furlough in September they will still be employed by Eurofin and they will get paid by them as well.

“It will make a difference; it can help with salaries and shop rent. It will all go into the pot!”

The deal was recently announced by TTNG chief executive Gary Lewis at Travel Weekly and Travolution’s Leaving Lockdown event as a way of bringing in revenues until travel returns to normal.

It follows deals by TTNG earlier this year to offer clients discounted rates for Covid-19 tests.

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