HRG results reflect upturn in business travel

Growing confidence in business travel has been reflected in strong half year financial results from Hogg Robinson Group.

The company saw its pre-tax profit double to £15.3 million in the six months to September 30 on a 9% rise in revenue to £169.2 million.

Travel spend and bookings by clients rose by 18% in real terms during the period and HRG saw increasing demand for online bookings.

Looking forward, the group is taking on more staff to maintain service levels and to “create the capacity to support further growth”.

Chief executive David Radcliffe said: “Whilst recognising the global economic uncertainties and more demanding comparatives in the second half, the board believes the outcome for the year as a whole will be slightly ahead of our previous expectations.”

The half year period had seen “strengthening confidence” amongst many of its clients.

“This was first seen in Asia Pacific and has since followed into North America and Europe,” said Radcliffe. “Set against data published by, amongst others, the International Monetary Fund, IATA and STR Global, we now have firm evidence of an emerging recovery in corporate travel.”

He added: “Although our clients are starting to travel more, many of the changes that they have adopted during the recession have continued. Clients remain cost conscious, though the priority now is on seeking travel solutions that offer good value rather than those focused just simply on reducing overall travel spend.

“The increasing use of lower cost online self-booking tools is part of that and HRG’s own technology, together with the fact that we are able to work with third-party technologies, is playing an important part in enabling that shift.”

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