Hays Travel reports record January and February sales

Hays Travel saw record sales in January and February, thanks to a “buoyant market” and a determination among consumers to defy the squeeze on household budgets.

Speaking at the Hays Independence Group conference, Dame Irene Hays, chairman of the independent agency group, told Travel Weekly: “January and February were the strongest months in history of Hays Travel, including pre-pandemic and including Thomas Cook.”

Hays Travel acquired the Thomas Cook retail estate in October 2019 following the collapse of the travel giant.

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She said the company’s targets for the peaks selling season incorporated figures from Thomas Cook with those from Hays Travel to ensure they were comparing like with like.

Dame Irene said Hays Independence Group had also seen a record January and February, with an “exceptional” performance.

Hays IG accounts for about 20% of the total Hays Travel business but in January, its total transactional value was about 26% of the overall business.

Jonathon Woodall-Johnston, chief commercial officer, said the success was thanks to the “buoyant market” and a focus on the right product mix, with increased sales of more expensive holidays such as cruises.

“Hays IG has diversified…and it benefits from the buying power of the group and our commercial terms.”

He said Hays IG sales are up 60% year on year, for the first 10 months of the company’s financial year, from May 1, 2022, to the end of February 2023.

“It is a diverse mix of business, homeworkers and online travel agents and cruise specialists; all the businesses have seen significant growth,” he told Travel Weekly.

Hays added: “People want higher value holidays and longer stays. The evidence from the latest research is that the intent to buy is strong – 82% of people intend to spend the same or more on their holidays.”

Hays IG has 132 limited businesses, which represent 220 outlets, including brands such as Miles Morgan Travel, Not Just Travel and Holidaysplease. Six members have joined in the past 10 months.

“Our strategy is to take on quality members that we can help to grow,” said Woodall-Johnston.

“Everyone is doing well across the board – 32% of members have doubled their January turnover; it is a stellar performance.”

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