Hays tells agents to stop giving profits away as it reveals record £1bn half-year turnover

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Hays tells agents to stop giving profits away as it reveals record £1bn half-year turnover

Hays Travel Chief Irene Hays revealed that the company made a record £1 billion turnover in the first six months of its current financial year, up to the end of October 2022.

Dame Irene announced at the company’s Homeworking Annual Conference in the Algarve that it had never before achieved such a high figure in the first half of the year.

The group went on to turn over £308m in January, another record-breaking period for Hays.

Dame Irene added: “The results in the Hays Group are very strong,” and she told the delegates that ‘homeworking growth is phenomenal’.

“We look at your numbers every day and you are doing tremendously well,” she said.

However, she revealed that homeworkers had given away almost £4 million in discounts in the past 10 months, which she said was unnecessary.

Homeworkers are currently giving away 28.3% of their commission in discounts, while Chief Operating Officer Jonathon Woodall-Johnston said the aim was to reduce this to just 20%.

He told delegates that just rounding down the holiday price by less than £1 ‘to make a nice neat figure on the invoice’ had cost the group £77,443 in the past 10 months.

Jonathon told Travel Gossip: “If they reduce discounts to just 20% and they don’t round down, they could earn an extra £1.15m.”

Margins for the homeworking division have dipped slightly over the past 12 months, which Dame Irene put down to agents discounting in order to rapidly re-build their businesses as they emerged from the pandemic.

“People came out of COVID lacking in confidence… they have been giving away their margin, but they don’t need to. We have data that shows that 82% of customers expect to pay more for their holidays this year, some of them significantly more,” she said.

Hays is aiming to boost margins for homeworkers to 10.5% this year, increasing earnings by £1.75m, or an average of £2,091 per homeworker.

Dame Irene said 10.5% could be achieved by controlling discounts, supporting suppliers with the best commercial terms and making sure they are selling the ‘right product mix’, including more cruises and long-haul holidays.

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