Hays Independence Group has reported a “dramatic turnaround” in its members’ sales this year thanks to the lates market.

Despite revenue being down as much as 30% in early 2009, the consortium reported that turnover was up 30% for the year to October 31 2009, passenger numbers were up 12% and commission up 21%. The average selling price of a holiday also rose from £441 in 2008 to £513 in 2009.

Speaking at the group’s conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Hays Travel managing director John Hays said: “We were trading 25% to 30% down in January, February and March. It was awful. Early bookers were not booking and there was no confidence in the economy. In all my time in the business, I have never seen such a dramatic turnaround.”

The market started to pick up in April and late bookings over the summer helped to drive business, he said. For the month of October, passenger numbers increased by 30%, turnover rose 72% and commission was up 49% compared to the same month of 2008.

Hays said he was particularly pleased with the performance of members who had been trading between 12 to 24 months,  whose commissions increased by an average 56%.

Hays said he was proud that no Independence Group members had failed during 2009 and predicted a tough market for 2010.

“We are not complacent – we still think 2010 is going to be as difficult as 2009. We need to be as vigilant, tight and innovative as we can.”


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