Two online travel agencies feature as among the UK’s top private companies with the fastest growing sales.
The 22nd annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 ranks HalalBookings.com in 26th place and TravelUp 37th.
HalalBookings.com achieved an annual sales increase of 90.01% with turnover reaching more than £10 million last year, with around 80% generated from customers overseas.
Founded by university friends Enver Cebi and Elnur Seyidli, the Reading-based company selects hotels with halal-friendly amenities, allowing users to select filters including no-alcohol policies, availability of women-only beaches and halal food options. The website is being translated to access the Malaysian and Indonesian markets.
CEO Seyidli said: “I hope that inclusion in such a prestigious list will bring more recognition to the halal-friendly travel sector.
“Despite the fact that it is one of the industry’s fastest-growing markets, it is still relatively unknown, especially in Europe.”
Berkshire-based TravelUp, founded by Ali Shah in 2004, offers flights and package holiday deals online through brands including TravelUp, Holiday Genie and Bravo Travel. Sales rose by 75.34% last year to £77.2 million. It has customers in the US, Ireland and Australia with its websites receiving 20,000 visits a day, up 65% on last year.
Shah, who spoke no English and had no experience of the UK travel market when he started this firm, said: “We have worked so hard over the past 14 years and I would like to thank all of our team both past and present for their hard work and dedication that has made TravelUp what it is today.
“A huge thank you goes to all of our partners that have supported the group and of course our customers that have allowed us to be part of their travel experience.”
Events and travel agency business Total Management Group is 54th with sales up by 66.39% to £12 million I the year to March. The company, founded by chief executive Natasha Thomas in 2006, covers travel and events with clients including Spotify, Harrods and Paramount Pictures.
Car rental firm Easirent is in 55th position with a 64.35% increase in sales to £31.2 million last year. The Liverpool-based firm operates from 34 locations across the UK and Ireland and also takes bookings online and through brokerage services. Established in 2009 by father and son team Nick and Paul Hanley, four branches have been opened at Florida airports.
UK holiday accommodation rental company Sykes Holiday Cottages is tipped as one to watch with plans to handle 2.5 million customers by 2020.
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson said: “Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of UK business and have always been the beating heart of positive
“In a climate of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to recognise those entrepreneurs, like those of this year’s Fast Track 100, who are making the world a better place for everybody.”
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