OTA expects ‘substantial’ lates market as sales surpass pre-COVID levels

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By Linsey McNeill
25/02/2022
Home » OTA expects ‘substantial’ lates market as sales surpass pre-COVID levels

On the Beach Group sales over the past four weeks are up 50% compared with 2019.

Since the start of its financial year, including the period hit by Omicron, they’re down just 2% on its pre-pandemic trading.

The Group said its strategy to capture market share by offering customers freebies such as airport lounge access, together with hiring more customer services and technology staff and investing in advertising to raise awareness of the brand, is paying off.

In a trading update to the London Stock Exchange this morning, OTB said it expects to see a ‘substantial’ lates market this summer as its planned short-haul airline capacity has exceeded capacity for summer 2019.

OTB said this will be supported with competitive prices for both flights and hotels.

While customers are leaving it till the last minute to book two- to four-star holidays, early bookings have been stronger into higher value, more premium hotels, it added.

It said its decision to continue paying hoteliers promptly during the pandemic had given it access to more premium hotels that were previously exclusive to other operators. Premium hotels now account for 71% of its portfolio compared to 59% in 2019.

Long haul sales in the year to date are up 349% vs FY19 and now account for 9% of Group sales (FY19: 2%). 

The Group’s B2B businesses, Classic Collection and Classic Package Holidays, have seen sales increase 35% over 2019.

“The Group’s proactive actions taken throughout the pandemic have led to increased Group sales in the higher value 4 and 5 star hotels, particularly for holidays to the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Chief Executive Simon Cooper.

“Our sales patterns continue to evolve to our core destinations and while we are seeing shorter lead times for these holidays, we are hopeful that the increasing consumer confidence will result in a strong lates market in those regions,” he added.

The Group has £19m in the bank, excluding  £61m of customer prepayments held in Trust. It also has an unused £75m credit facility.

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