Holiday Franchise Company reports record month in January

The Holiday Franchise Company said its sales revenue in January was up by 70% year on year to a record level, thanks to the increased productivity of its franchisees.

As well as overall sales increasing, the average booking value rose by 18% to more than £5,000 and the margin increased by more than 16%.

Joanne Aldridge, head of franchise, attributed the success to “improving the productivity for franchisees”, adding: “That is really down to the hard work of our support team who go above and beyond to support them during the office hours, weekends and evenings.”

She hailed the support offered by business development manager Jenna McCullagh and business development executive Kim Hood, who also have their own franchise with the company, which is part of Holidaysplease.

“Jenna and Kim achieved over £127,000 worth of sales in January. They believed in our model so much that they set up their own business with us,” said Aldridge.

“Now they lead by example…instead of just talking the talk, they’re walking the walk.”


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Aldridge said the company has 50 franchisees and five going through the onboarding process.

About 11 were recruited in 2023 but a similar number left as they retired or did not want to continue, so numbers remain on a par with a year ago. Also, after parent company Holidaysplease was taken over by Travel Counsellors in March 2023, three franchisees moved across to the new owner.

“Our performance isn’t down to recruiting franchisees en masse. We were not a numbers game,” she said.

“It’s about finding the right business partners that share our vision.

“We could take on hundreds of people, but we wouldn’t do that because we’re very aware of who fits our vision and values, and who’s got the skills to be successful.”

Aldridge said the company also diversified in 2023, expanding beyond its online travel agency proposition.

“In October last year, we opened our first retail store which is doing really well; they are absolutely flying,” she said.

“We’re also creating brands to sell, so people who don’t want to go on the whole journey of starting a brand from scratch can now purchase a brand. And we also support our franchisees if their exit plan is to sell their business.”

The company is also developing its own in-house tour operator called Elegant Escapes, which is now live, with direct contracts and one bed bank.

“We will also be plugging in our flight system, our transfer system, a massive range of DMCs and other bed banks,” added Aldridge.

Alongside Elegant Escapes, the joint top supplier is Jet2.com and its brands. More franchisees are also selling Tui since it began to woo third-party agents.

“We’ve also seen a big increase in European holidays, which are not normally our bread and butter as we’re more about luxury long-haul,” commented Aldridge.

“We’re seeing some customers adapt, where they might book a slightly shorter duration, but they’re still going, so travel is definitely back.”

She said franchisees range from one-person businesses to partnerships with husbands and wives or friends, as well as larger teams.

“We’ve also introduced a platform called Teams where franchisees can create profiles and offer support: anything from website design to taking surplus enquiries or covering annual leave and out of hours.”

The Holiday Franchise Company held its first company conference in December 2022 after its original plans were shelved due to the pandemic.

In 2023, it took part in the Travel Counsellors conference but is now planning to hold its own event later in 2024 to be able to spend more time with its team and franchisees.

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