Swiss tourism group

Hotelplan is back in profit

Hotelplan Group returned to profit last year despite lower revenues and is optimistic for this year thanks to good Swiss bookings and despite a Brexit impact.

February 01, 2018
Hotelplan chief Thomas Stirnimann is optimistic for 2018 business
Photo: Thomas Entzeroth

Hotelplan, a subsidiary of the leading Swiss retail group Migros, made an operating profit of CHF 5 million in the financial year ending 31 October 2017 compared to a loss of CHF 11.7 million the previous year. This was despite a 3.9% drop in turnover to CHF 1,379 million, which was largely due to the sale of Hotelplan Italia last year and the weaker British pound against the Swiss franc.

In 2017, the travel industry once again found itself exposed to major challenges such as terrorist attacks, geopolitical unrest and natural disasters, Hotelplan said. But this did not deter travellers and the tourism group increased customer numbers by 5.5%.

In Switzerland, where the group sees itself as market leader, Hotelplan Suisse increased revenue (without travel.ch) by 1.4% to CHF 590.4 million and boosted customer numbers by 0.6% to 523,000 thanks to good early bookings and despite diverse natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

The undiminished trend towards spending vacations in one’s ‘own’ holiday home, chalet or apartment was clearly apparent in the newly-formed Holiday Home Division, which comprises the two holiday home specialists Interhome and Inter Chalet. Year-on-year, this was reflected in a 3% increase in invoiced turnover to CHF 332.6 million. The synergies between the two providers and the exploitation of various online sales channels also reflected positively on the result, according to the company.

Turnover at Hotelplan UK increased by 3.2% in local currency but, when converted into Swiss francs, this resulted in a marginal decrease to CHF 318.6 million. “The repercussions of Brexit are particularly noticeable in the skiing holiday sector, as travelling abroad has become more expensive and this customer group is price sensitive,” Hotelplan commented. The highest growth rates in Great Britain were achieved by the walking and cycling holiday specialist Inntravel and the soft adventure provider Explore.

Among other smaller business, the start-up ‘bedfinder’ generated initial turnover of CHF 13.7 million but is showing “enormous potential” by powering ‘Book on Google’, which lets users book travel services worldwide without having to leave the Google search platform. It currently operates in diverse international markets.

Looking ahead, Hotelplan Group said it expects to repeat last year’s positive results again this year.

CEO Thomas Stirnimann said: “At Hotelplan UK, the ongoing Brexit negotiations will indeed continue to put pressure on the skiing holiday sector in particular. But the current booking figures for the 2017/2018 winter season in the Holiday Home Division and the already gratifying summer bookings at Hotelplan Suisse give us ample grounds for confidence.”

He added: “Notably our youngest business unit bedfinder is growing daily through new cooperations, accessing further markets and reaping the benefits of continuous technological advances. These factors make us very optimistic for 2018.”

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