Agency defies headwinds
Barrhead Travel sees income breach £300m
Jacqueline Dobson (MD of Barrhead Travel), Stuart Taylor (CFO of TLG UK), Sharon Munro (President of Barrhead Travel)
Barrhead Travel, one of the UK’s largest travel agencies, saw revenues rise 7% to breach the £300 million level for the first time last year in spite of headwinds in the travel sector.
The increase in income was put down to a surge in river cruise sales and more customers visiting new stores in England and Northern Ireland. Bookings for 2018 are up 8% year on year.
However, underlying profits (EBITDA) of £2.7m were down £500,000 year on year as a result of £650,000 investment in people and website technology alongside the launch of new stores in Belfast and Leicester as part of its organic expansion.
Stores have opened this year in Southampton and Port Glasgow with one more opening at Fort Kinnaird. The redevelopment and expansion of outlets in Livingston and Glasgow Fort are also pending for later this year.
President Sharon Munro said there had been a slowdown which coincided with the snap General Election.
“Such events historically hit travel sales and last year was no different. However, despite the collapse of Monarch Airlines, terrorist attacks both at home and abroad, a strong hurricane season in the Caribbean and the protracted Brexit negotiations, we are delighted that we have recorded another very successful year.
“The outlook remains very positive. There is a real sense of energy and momentum in the business.”
The company was acquired by Travel Leaders Group in February and synergies have been identified in technology, marketing, training, supplier relationships, cruise sales and hotel sales.