Hays Travel Independence Group (Hays IG) has seen profit increase 20% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis, with further growth predicted, according to the group’s managing director.
John Hays revealed the figures at Hays IG’s annual conference in Marbella, highlighting that the profit growth followed a 13% rise between 2015 and 2016, with sales up 19% for 2017 and passenger numbers rising by 13%.
“To have plus 20% on a like-for-like basis for the branches which have been in business for more than a year – that’s pretty healthy indeed,” Hays told TTG.
Asked what he thought was behind the growth, he added: “In a high street environment people are looking for independent advice and that’s what our members give to their customers. We’re in a good spot right now.
“Because of our size they [members] are also able to give competitive prices. And if you put those two things together, it’s a winning formula.”
Hays IG is on a “recruitment drive” for new members, and has already welcomed 10 new businesses in the past year, taking its total to 106.
But Hays says himself that the consortium is “picky” when it comes to new recruits.
“We are growing steadily,” he said. “We want existing businesses and also people who are thinking of starting a travel business to think of us.
“We are picky though – we look at business plans and reject maybe 90%. We want to be associated with success and viable businesses that are going to stand the test of time.”
Hays listed the high street, telesales companies, homeworking businesses and tour operators as represented in Hays IG’s membership.
“In each of the categories the high street is really strong,” said Hays, adding: “You can see why they want to open more branches.”
He listed both Seaside Travel and Craig Travel as travel agencies that have recently added to their network.
But Hays chair of group board Irene Hays stressed that the organisation was not afraid to take on start-ups.
“If John sees that entrepreneurial spirit, we will support and nurture them,” she said.
John Hays added: “We love taking on start-ups and we’ve had some that have gone on to be huge.
“Loveholidays and Imagine Cruising for example; I’m very proud of the role we’ve played with organisations like that, and there are lots of other extremely successful businesses too, like Miles Morgan Travel, for example.
“I like to think we’ve helped those people – it gives me so much satisfaction to see them flourish and grow.”