Virgin Holidays says its decision to go direct sale only has been vindicated after reporting a growth in profits of more than 75%.
The operator’s profit for 2016 was £19.1 million, a 75.2% rise on the previous year due to higher passenger volumes and margins in its first full year as a direct sales business.
Departures increased 4.9% and 341,000 Virgin Holidays Experiences were arranged for customers in more than 45 destinations.
Virgin Holidays’ managing director David Geer said: “This was both a fantastic effort from the entire Virgin Holidays team and a confirmation of the success of our decision to move to a direct sale-only model.”
He said that having the foundations in place with Virgin Holidays’ customer base and investing in customer experience, they were confident of the model before going direct-only.
Overall, Virgin Atlantic Group reported a £23 million profit after tax and total overall group revenue of £2.69 billion and said a “major contributing factor” was the performance by Virgin Holidays
The group’s profit for the year up to the end of December 2016 was £0.5 million up on the previous year overall.
Geer told Travel Weekly that Virgin Holidays’ concession stores in Debenhams, House of Fraser, Tesco and Sainsbury’s had been important for driving growth.
“People like having the face-to-face contact with another human,” Our product is predominantly long-haul, and when people spend a big chunk of money they want that reassurance.”
But despite the impressive 2016 figures, Geer said he would not categorically rule out going back to the trade. “I never say never,” he added.
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