The UK’s largest journey agency Hays Travel has introduced a return to profit for the first time for the reason that begin of the pandemic. Three years since rescuing Thomas Cook retailers and jobs, the corporate has introduced a worthwhile yr for the group in 2021 and 2022. The 42-year-old Sunderland-based firm weathered a number of challenges to the journey business in the course of the disaster.
The agency has now reported a profit earlier than tax of £14.35m from its operations in excessive avenue retail, on-line service centres, homeworking, franchise, overseas trade and its Independence Group (offering back-office companies to different impartial journey businesses). This was regardless of a turbulent 12 months with ongoing coronavirus restrictions, the Omicron variant, the nationwide recruitment disaster and latterly the tragic Russian invasion of Ukraine impacting the entire journey business.
Travel bookings elevated by 221% versus the 12 months ended 30 April 2021 and the Group achieved a transaction worth of £1.07bn. The firm made two acquisitions, and continues to haven’t any debt and doesn’t use overdrafts. The stability sheet continued to strengthen with important enchancment in gross sales of cruise and touring holidays. The buyer base elevated, with 52% of shoppers being new to each Hays Travel and former Thomas Cook shops in comparison with 19% in 2019.
Hays Travel efficiently acquired the licence to function the Thomas Cook retail branches on ninth October, 2019. Owner and chair, Dame Irene Hays, stated: “These results vindicate our decision to acquire the Thomas Cook retail estate and we have fulfilled the commitment we made then to return the remaining shops to profit. “The key to our success is our customer service ethos. Each time a new challenge appeared – whether it was traffic lights, restrictions or cancelled flights – our agents were there for their customers.”
Diversifying in the course of the pandemic to supply enterprise processing companies, utilising contact centre abilities and experience, and the power of the stability sheet pre-pandemic all performed a component in sustaining the enterprise. With new challenges on the horizon, not least the cost-of-living disaster, Hays Travel’s marketing strategy stays bold and achievable, stated Dame Irene.
She added: “The demand for holidays continues. As the UK’s largest independent agent, our vast range of products means we can find holidays for people who are on a budget or those who want luxury, longer cruises or touring holidays, and we are seeing lots more people choosing to spread the cost by direct debit. “In the current year we will continue to grow organically and via acquisitions as well as developing our Independence Group, Foreign Exchange and Homeworking Divisions, continuing our focus on great value holidays and excellent customer care.”
In 2019 the corporate retained all former Thomas Cook staff who needed to affix Hays Travel and elevated general employees numbers within the three years for the reason that acquisition. There at the moment are 542 apprenticeships throughout the UK in journey agent or Head Office roles. Dame Irene counseled the dedication and abilities of the corporate’s employees: “Our individuals have but once more been phenomenal. The success of the corporate in 21/22 is right down to their improbable dedication to continued customer support all through the pandemic and ever since. “We’ve continued to recruit and practice extra journey brokers and head workplace positions and greater than doubled the variety of apprentices. I’m delighted that we will now proceed to reward our retail groups for his or her loyalty and laborious work with a considerably elevated bonus scheme.
“I’m also pleased to be able to reinstate our contributions to local communities through our branches across the country and the Hays Travel Foundation.” The Hays Travel Foundation goals to assist younger individuals obtain and be the most effective they are often in well being, sport, the humanities and training. The firm additionally funds Community Partnerships in all its shops to help charitable causes of their native space.