Saga travel profits up by more than a quarter

Saga travel profits up by more than a quarter

Saga’s travel division’s revenue rose by 15.2% to £381.3 million in the year to January 31.

This came on the back of an 11% rise in holidaymakers and a 6.7% increase in passenger days on its two ships as Saga Holidays carried almost 200,000 customers.

Earnings [EBITDA] for the travel sector of the over-50s company was up by 29.4% to £26 million.

Load factors on the cruise ships Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II improved to 85% from 77% in the previous year.

The sale of Saga Holidays through third-party travel agents was launched in October.

“As over 50% of our core customer demographic will book their holiday through a travel agent, this additional distribution channel will drive further bookings growth for the future,” said group chief executive Lance Batchelor.

“During the year we have also upgraded our Saga Holidays website to improve the customer journey across PC, tablet and mobile.

“Nearly 27,000 browsers have registered with us through our website in the past five months. To complement this we have further developed our contact centre capabilities offering more flexibility to our customers around choice of airport departure.”

Last year also saw the takeover of Destinology, enhancing the range of travel offerings which appeal to a broader group of Saga customers, the company said.

Looking forward, Batchelor, said: “Trading across the travel businesses has started strongly and we expect positive growth across all business lines.”

Saga’s overall group earnings in its first year since its IPO were up by 6% to £227.4 million with a pre-tax profit up by 9.6% to £195.5 million.

Batchelor said: "It has been a significant and successful year for Saga, starting with our IPO and culminating in the growth strategy we outlined in January following a comprehensive strategic review.

“I am particularly pleased to report that the business performed well throughout our first financial year as a public company and that our tailored products continue to resonate strongly with our target demographic.

"We have presented a clear vision of how we will deliver consistent growth through our existing businesses by leveraging our model to unlock the inherent value in our brand and database.

“The current year has started well and trading is in line with our expectations and we remain on track to deliver on our trading EBITDA growth target of between 5% and 7%.”

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