Strong UK domestic holidays boost Hoseasons

Cash-strapped Britons remaining in the UK for their holidays has helped Hoseasons boost its annual pre-tax profits by almost £1m.

The operator, which specialises in lodges, cottages and boating programmes in the UK, saw profits rise to £3.13m in the year ending 31 October 2008 from £2.15m year-on-year. Sales were up from £13.7 million to £15.6 million.Chief executive Richard Carrick said the rise in profits came despite a restructure that saw £1m invested back into the company for new product and web technology.

He said: “This year, we’ve been buoyed by relatively favourable economic circumstances - we’re one of the few beneficiaries of what’s going on in the economy at the moment.

“The mental leap between staying at home and going away on one of our holidays is quite narrow, because we offer self-drive and self-catering. People have a car that they are going to have to put fuel in anyway; they’re going to have to spend money on housekeeping in any event. So we’re offering a cheaper holiday. You can put the family and the dog in the car and take some housekeeping money or even some food with you and go away not too far from home.

Strong sales of upmarket park lodge accommodation and new city-break apartments also helped boost the numbers. Carrick said Hoseasons would continue the roll out of its city apartment programme, aimed at self-catering families and groups.

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Since Easter, the operator has started selling 2010 capacity early in order to provide more accommodation for this summer.

The company has added around 10% more capacity in cottages and lodges for next year.

He said around a fifth of customers are new to this year as a result of the popularity of the UK this year.

“We are in the right place at the right time. We have to make sure they come back to us next year,” said Carrick.

Meanwhile, sales of European holidays have recovered from around 30% down before Christmas to around 17% down.
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