Hotels evaluation portal Holidaycheck is stepping up its commercial expansion with plans to launch its own tour operator after a slow start to sales this year.
The Holidaycheck Group has created a new subsidiary called HC Touristik which will be responsible for developing in-house tour operator products. At present, the group sells hotel-only offers under the Holidaycheck Reisen brand along with package holidays of other tour operators apart from its core business of publishing hotel ratings.
But Holidaycheck Group CEO Georg Hesse has long planned a move into the tour operating market. The former Amazon manager has now brought in Vinzenz Greger, who worked eight years for Siemens and then for Amazon since 2007, to build up the new business.
Holidaycheck already broadened its business base last year with the launch of a new cruise holiday platform offering 5,000 cruises offered by 75 operators, supplied by specialist portal E-hoi. At the start of this year, it then acquired beach review portal Beach-Inspector to cover destinations in more depth.
The Munich-based company has grown rapidly in recent years, notably acquiring Dutch portal Zoover along with smaller businesses. In 2018, it increased net turnover by 14% to €139 million, turning the previous year’s small operating loss into EBIT of €3 million and making a small net profit of €1.8 million.
However, the group has made a slow start to 2019 with Q1 sales up by just 1.9% to €42.2 million, although this was on top of the high 24% growth achieved in the first quarter of 2018 and amid generally weak demand in Germany. As expected, operating profits declined by nearly two thirds to €1.7 million due to investments in marketing and personnel.
Looking ahead, however, HolidayCheck remained optimistic for 2019, predicting sales growth of 7-12% thanks to late sales and better operating profits.