Successful business year driven by strong pent-up demand
Hotelplan Group can look back on a successful business year, with all business units reporting strong pent-up customer demand for travel in the wake of the Corona pandemic. The Swiss travel concern achieved total turnover of CHF 1,434.9 million, which represents an increase of 122.5% compared to the previous year.
The start of the 2021/2022 financial year (1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022) at Hotelplan Group was again marked by the Corona pandemic. From mid-February to the end of October, however, strong pent-up demand was observed and customers were very eager to travel – this applied to both the holiday and business travel sectors. The travel group generated turnover of CHF 1,434.9 million (prior year: CHF 644.8 million). This represents a 122.5% increase over the previous year and a 20.8% increase over 2019, the last year before the pandemic. "I am delighted that all business units have returned to profitability after the challenging pandemic years. We could only achieve this thanks to the exceptional efforts of all our staff," says Hotelplan Group CEO Laura Meyer.
Business units at a glance
After a subdued start to the 2021/22 financial year, **Hotelplan Suisse **saw a veritable booking boom from spring onwards. Both online sales and customer advice and sales in the 82 branches throughout Switzerland proved to be extremely popular. Together with the repositioning in summer of the two specialists for individual holiday travel, travelhouse and tourisme pour tous, this meant a considerable rise in revenue. Hotelplan Suisse reported turnover in the year under review of CHF 158.2 million (prior year: CHF 45.0 million).
The highest pent-up demand was recorded in the beach holiday and city break segments. Beach holidays in the extended Mediterranean region in particular were extremely popular among holidaymakers. Accordingly, Volume Tour Operating – with the Hotelplan, Migros Ferien and vtours brands – concluded the 2021/22 financial year on an exceptionally positive note, posting turnover of CHF 703.1 million (prior year: CHF 314.8 million).
Hotelplan UK experienced the first year after the pandemic in which consumers were able to enjoy virtually unrestricted holiday travel. In the winter and summer months alike, Hotelplan UK's customers started to travel again in numbers. Moreover, the strategic move to focus on higher-quality travel experiences proved to be the right one – Hotelplan UK ended the financial year with turnover of GBP 150.9 million (prior year: GBP 5.5 million).
The year under review went down as a record-breaking one in Interhome Group's 57-year history. Never before have so many customers opted to spend their holidays in a self-contained holiday apartment or home. This translated into turnover of CHF 371.0 million (prior year: CHF 275.0 million). The result is partly due to the holiday home provider's recent strategic increase of the share of self-managed properties and the number of local service offices, which take care of key-holding, maintenance and cleaning services.
The business travel specialists Finass and bta first travel are experiencing a steady return to normality, albeit – as expected – somewhat slower than the other business units. Both successfully acquired numerous new customers in the year under review. This and the rising demand for business travel meant that bta first travel reported turnover of CHF 7.5 million (prior year: CHF 2.4 million). Finass Reisen ended the financial year with turnover of CHF 5.6 million (prior year: CHF 2.5 million).
Strengthened commitment to sustainability
In the 2020/21 business year, Hotelplan Group defined its vision of being the most popular tour operator in its target markets thanks to an outstanding customer experience and a commitment to sustainability. Some measures have already been adopted: In 2022, Hotelplan Group teamed up with Futouris, an initiative that is committed to a sustainable and future-proof travel industry. The travel concern also became a founding member of the KlimaLink association, whose objective is to provide the travel industry with unified standards to calculate climate emissions. Individual Hotelplan Group business units have also launched sustainability projects: At Hotelplan UK's soft adventure specialist Explore, the carbon footprint of each trip is now clearly displayed on the booking website, and at Interhome Group, the option to voluntarily offset carbon emissions resulting from a stay in a holiday home or apartment has been integrated into the booking process since January 2022. Last year, Hotelplan Suisse started to offer package holidays by rail under the Migros Ferien brand. At Finass Reisen and selected Hotelplan branches, customers can now opt to purchase Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to boost the environmental friendliness of their (business) travel. "We take a holistic approach to sustainability. The new staff workation scheme, the Green Office Initiative and the expansion of fringe benefits take into account our key principle of 'Responsible Business'. After all, our employees are the foundation on which our company is built, and their well-being is particularly important," says Laura Meyer.
Despite the currently volatile state of the global economy, all business units are optimistic about the ongoing financial year. Booking levels are satisfactory, although not yet at the levels for the same period in 2019. This is partly due to the fact that customers are still booking their holidays at shorter notice. "We are on course and, as things stand, expect to achieve higher revenues than in the previous business year. Not least because we are consistently delivering on our strategy and continuously enhancing the customer experience," says Laura Meyer.