The Irish division of Ebookers, the online travel agent, has reported a threefold increase in sales, which climbed to €10 million in the eight months to the start of October.
The company, which employs 70 at its Dublin office, attributed the growth to positive word-of- mouth reaction from customers and predicted a doubling of sales to €20 million in 2003.
As the Ebookers group yesterday announced a 58 per cent year-on-year rise in gross sales for the third quarter and before-tax profits of €314,000, Irish subsidiary Ebookers.ie unveiled plans to diversify into the business-to-business web services sector.
Ms Rose Kervick, managing director of Ebookers.ie, claimed the division had outperformed others within the group and was on course to return a modest profit this year. Declining to disclose the level of profit, she said the Irish operation had surpassed performance targets set by head office, increasing its customer base to 50,000 from 12,000 since January.
An affiliate arrangement with Aer Rianta, under which Ebookers.ie managed the airport authority's online booking facilities in return for a 5 per cent sales commission, had boosted the company's profile and expanded its customer base, Ms Kervick said.
As Ebookers.ie did not maintain a high-street outlet and made 50 per cent of sales over the internet, overheads remained low this year, she added. The opening of a second customer call centre in Dublin had further augmented the Irish division's standing within the wider group, she added.