Travel Counsellors reveals 2023 trading update

Travel Counsellors reveals 2023 trading update

Growth of bookings sees revenue near £1 billion

UK's largest technology platform for travel entrepreneurs has announced its Travel Counsellors its trading update for the year, which ended October 31, 2023.

The firm revealed that its annual booking reached a record number in revenue of £933 million, which is up 23% on the prior year from £758 million. 

This represents a CAGR of 16% since pre-pandemic levels of £520 million.

Both the company’s leisure and corporate focused businesses achieved record results with UK leisure bookings increase 22% YoY to £552 million while UK Corporate bookings increase 25% YoY to £209 million. 

This saw corporate bookings break the £200 million barrier for the first time.

Operational highlights from this period saw the completion of the company’s first ever acquisition in March 2023, of award-winning specialist luxury travel advisors, Holidaysplease, with post-acquisition performance ahead of initial expectations.

The firm also welcome 340 new travel counsellors into its community, enabling them to leverage its proprietary digital platform and infrastructure to launch their new travel businesses. The company now sits at more than 2,000 franchisees at the year-end

Continued investment in building and developing the best platform to empower travel entrepreneurs to build lasting relationships with customers, with several new collaboration features and UX innovations introduced to Phenix, throughout the year.

More than 100,000 active customers were served across over 300,000 bookings for the first time, with UK Leisure ABV of £4,903. This shows strong strategic growth in the target premium leisure customer segment.

The top three leisure destinations on a departure basis for UK customers were the US (up 8.8% YoY), Spain (up 10.2% YoY) and Greece (up 3.8% YoY). 

Cruise bookings were up 66% YoY and trips to Australia were up 167% YoY. 

Steve Byrne, CEO of Travel Counsellors, said: “FY23 was an amazing year for Travel Counsellors. We achieved continued transformational growth by disrupting the travel market and welcomed a record number of new customers who trusted our community of outstanding travel counsellors with their leisure and corporate travel needs. 

"Our very strong performance once again demonstrates the strength of our differentiated, disruptive, and scalable business model as well as growing customer demand for our trusted and personal travel advice.  I am incredibly proud of what we achieved during FY23 and would like to thank everyone associated with our business for their outstanding levels of commitment and care. 

“Our fantastic community of Travel Counsellors are the lifeblood of our business. We now work with a growing community of over 2,000 of the market’s most talented independent travel franchisees and I am delighted to say that the average sales growth by established travel counsellors increased by more than (20%) year on year. 

"This reflects the power of our technology platform, combined with our supportive community, which helps ambitious travel entrepreneurs to truly fulfil their potential.

“Despite our continued strong growth, I am so proud to say we have not lost focus on our core mission: to provide unrivalled levels of care and advice for our customers. 

"I am delighted that we have again maintained our five-star Trustpilot rating and have seen a positive trend in repeat customer bookings across both our leisure and corporate businesses."

He added: "Looking forward, I am extremely confident that we are exceptionally well placed to achieve further significant growth over the coming years. 

"Our current trading remains very strong, and we already have more than £350m of departures booked for FY24, which is up 30% on where we were at the comparable time in FY23.

"Our recent, inaugural Travel Tracker report highlighted the resilience of and growth prospects for the travel industry, with consumers looking to travel more often in 2024 and enjoy highly personalised experiences. 

"Against this backdrop, we are focused on maintaining our momentum by continuing to disrupt the travel market and delighting even more customers with fantastic travel experiences, helping more travel entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in the years ahead.”