Loveholidays flies high in Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track

Loveholidays flies high in Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track

Online travel firms Loveholidays and Cruise.co.uk have been ranked as among the fastest growing companies in Britain.

They both feature in the latest Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 which lists the 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales over the past three years.

Loveholidays was ranked second in the 20th annual rankings just four years after being established by founders Alex Francis and Jonny Marsh. Its sales have risen by almost 184% over the last three years to £14.5 million.

The business that beat Loveholidays to the top of the rankings with the greatest sale growth of more than 193% was online active-ware seller Gymshark.

Cruise.co.uk, which was acquired in August for £52 million by private equity firm Bridgepoint Development Capital, appears in 91st position in the list with sales growth of more than 53% to £36.3 million in 2015 under chief executive Seamus Conlon.

Francis, chief executive of Loveholidays, said: “Our proprietary cutting-edge technology has helped to drive Loveholidays’ rapid growth since we entered the market just four years ago and enables our customers to shop for holidays in a unique and truly flexible way.

“In an unprecedented trading environment, this award coupled with us becoming a top 10 Atol holder earlier in the year is a remarkable achievement and a perfect finish to the year.”

Chief operating officer Marsh added: “Our website is the only one in the travel industry with ‘destination-less’ search technology which puts our customers’ needs at its heart; customers can quickly and easily find holidays that match what they are looking for and then check prices over a range of dates and departure airports with just the click of a button. 

“This puts our customers in control of their travel and means we can help them to find their perfect holiday and make booking a holiday fun again.”

Encouraging its agents to use social media to interact with customers is a key strategy for Cruise.co.uk.

As well as a website where customers can buy travel packages, look up reviews and join discussion forums, the Redditch-based firm’s agents have their own blogs and will develop a personal relationship with users through social media channels.

Home Grown Hotels, which runs The Pig group of five boutique hotels, appears in 76th place on the Fast Track with sales growth of more than 57% to £14.2 million.

Meanwhile, holiday comparison website icelolly.com has been awarded a two-star accreditation by Best Companies, demonstrating its commitment to attracting and retaining talent.

The Best Companies platform helps businesses gain an advantage over competitors by measuring, recognising and improving employee engagement levels. It uses data-gathering and analysis tools to measure engagement from employees within each organisation.

This is the first time icelolly.com has taken part in the survey and the Leeds-based company saw a completion rate of 92% from staff.

The two-star accreditation awarded to the business recognises excellence in all aspects of people management including leadership, rewarding and wellbeing of its people, supporting the local community and personal growth and engagement.

Chief executive Andrew Latham said: “The recognition is a credit to every single member of our team whose dedication and enthusiasm make this a great place to work, as well as our team of managers who have helped shape the culture and encouraged a strong people focused approach.”

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