Intrepid to recruit impact officer amid record UK performance

Intrepid Travel is to recruit a chief impact officer based in the UK or the US as it reveals the UK was its fastest-growing market during the first two months of this year.

The announcement comes as the company reports the best financial performance in its 34 year history, which it said reflected growing global demand for sustainable and experiential travel and demonstrated a purpose-led approach was good for the bottom line.

It will be the first time one of the company’s senior ‘chief’ roles will be based outside Australia or Asia. There are currently five chief roles, including a chief technology officer based in Sri Lanka.

The brand new role will be responsible for aspects of the business that fall under ‘purpose’ and ‘impact’ including advocacy, legislation and decarbonisation, in line with the company’s targets under the United Nations Global Compact Faster Forward initiative. The deadline for applications is at the end of the month and the aim is to have the position filled by this summer.

More: Intrepid Travel reports £25m annual financial turnaround despite industry challenges

Chief executive James Thornton said the company was keen to have the role based in either the UK or the US because the markets were both growing faster than its core Australia market.

“We are growing faster in the UK and US and so the opportunities are bigger and purpose-driven travel is being driven from those markets,” he said, adding: “As a global company it’s important we have a more global profile.”

UK sales increased by 29% in January and February year on year, making it the operator’s fastest-growing market during the first two months of the year.

Thornton said the performance demonstrated the strength of demand for its holidays in the UK as well as increased brand awareness.

The sales report comes as the company reveals a financial turnaround in its 2023 annual report in a rebound from the pandemic. It reported a net profit of £11.2 million last year, compared with a net loss after tax of £13.3 million in 2022 – a £24.6 million turnaround.

Thornton said: “The UK is outperforming our expectations at the moment and enjoyed a really strong 2023. For January and February, UK bookings were 29% higher than 2023, when we had record results, and have grown faster that our other markets in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada. This shows the future is really strong and bright in the UK and shows the work we have done in the UK market.”

The sales increase was attributed to consumers wanting more iconic and active trips, group travel and lower impact holidays as well as the company’s investment in growing the brand’s awareness among consumers.

“One of the hallmarks of our success is investment in our global brand campaign. The first advertisements were in London in 2022 and that gave us the confidence to invest more in global activity. Raising our brand awareness has been an important part of our success,” he said, adding: “Already we are increasingly seeing customers being more aware of their carbon footprint or wanting to travel with responsible travel companies.”

Around 40% of Intrepid’s UK sales come via travel agents and 60% are booked direct by consumers.

Thornton said: “We are happy with that [mix] and we are always happy to get more trade business. The trade is becoming more familiar with selling our style of travel as well and there is more awareness of our style of product.”

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