Published on Friday, December 7, 2012
Strong corporate travel and international sales are helping Travel Counsellors ride the recession, according to the group's latest sales figures.
At its conference in Liverpool this week, it reported a 4% year-on-year growth in revenue to £360 million.
Managing director Steve Byrne said taking exchange rate fluctuations out of the picture, the like-for-like growth was actually 8% - with the UK business up 5% and overseas by 10%.
Revenue for the UK was £250 million, with £60 million coming from corporate travel.
"This is a big growth area and we saw a 20% rise in corporate sales this year," he said.
"We are seeing a big increase in the recruitment of experienced corporate travel agents who handle big accounts for the large TMCs but who are wanting to set up on their own and earn more through commission than being salaried."
Byrne said over a third of the group's business is now done overseas - in Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, South Africa, Canada and Dubai.
"We expect UK and overseas growth to be even bigger next year," he added.
At the conference, he told delegates: "In the face of some of the most severe circumstances within the industry you have grown your businesses.
"This is testament to the way in which you embrace the support and technology available to you and focus on building invaluable relationships and trust with your customers."
The group recruited around 100 new Travel Counsellors in 2012 and expects to recruit another 150 in 2013.
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.