Heatwave not expected to hit travel trade hard

Club Travel chief Liam Lonergan said the warm spell’s impact on revenues ‘will be relatively insignificant’

Sun bathers at Portmarnock beach during the heatwave.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Sun bathers at Portmarnock beach during the heatwave.  Photograph: Alan Betson

 


The recent heatwave caused in “a noticeable drop” in holiday bookings at the country’s largest travel agency. However, managing director of Club Travel Liam Lonergan said yesterday that the impact on revenues for the year “will be relatively insignificant”.

He said that there was a noticeable drop for five weeks, but that the vast majority of holiday bookings would have been made before the hot spell had begun.

Mr Lonergan said: “The heatwave did affect us, but we are talking five weeks out of 50 weeks and it occurred during the holiday period and not the booking period.”

Pre-tax profits at the firm last year increased by 12.5 per cent to €4.42 million and revenue increased by 2 per cent from €84.4 million to €86.4 million.

The firm had cash of €37.1 million, which earned €1.4 million in bank interest.

Operating profits at the firm increased marginally from €2.8 million to €2.93 million in the 12 months to the end of October last.

One of the co-founders of Ryanair Mr Lonergan said: “I’m reasonably happy with how the company performed last year. Our business travel improved with increased confidence in that area and our Budget Travel business performed well.

“An increase of 2 per cent in revenues is not spectacular, but my new mantra is ‘flat is good. . . we have worked very hard to stand still.”


Budget Travel
Club Travel purchased the Budget Travel brand in 2010. “It is a wonderful brand and we were lucky enough to buy it,” Mr Lonergan said.

“We have improved the technology behind the brand, but are achieving less margin.”

The company had acted as the Irish Government’s travel agent for 13 years prior to international travel giant, Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) securing the new contract last year.

“We have replaced that business with other business to make up the difference and I am pleased with that.”

Numbers employed by the firm last year increased from 124 to 130, with staff costs last year reducing from €4.49 million to €4.28 million.

Last year, the company paid a €795,089 dividend to shareholders that followed a dividend payout of €859,472 in 2011.

Directors’ emoluments, including pension contributions, for Mr Lonergan, Helen Lonergan and Colman Burke, last year increased marginally from €284,696 to €317,243.