Online dynamic packaging business Holiday Discount Centre is targeting a 20% growth in turnover this year as it launches a new website to drive extra bookings.
The company’s turnover hit £30 million in January and it has recently moved into larger premises in Newcastle to manage a 60% increase in business since 2009.
In total, 15 new staff have joined the business in the last two years after a boom in business. Up to half a dozen more could be recruited this year.
The business, started in 2002 with a turnover of around £5 million, has just launched dynamic packaging website travelbubble.com, in part to test new technology which offers more detailed search and filtering functions. It already owns the sites holidaydiscountcentre.co.uk, ulookubook.com, and bookitlate.com, although the latter is no longer aggressively marketed.
Managing director Steve Campion hopes the new technology behind travelbubble will allow the company to expand its product range by using more bed bank suppliers, limited in the past by technology constraints.
The website is powered by travel technology software specialist Intuitive and can offer mulitple departure airport searches, mapping of hotel results showing where hotels are in relation to resorts, and indepth filtering features so users can seach for a specific departure airport combined with a specific hotel type and destination without trawling through a long list of results.
Campion hopes the indepth search facilities will encourage users to come back to the site even if they do not book the first time. “It should improve conversions and increase the chance of consumers coming back to the site,” he said.
But he admitted the 20% targeted growth figure for the online agency business, a member of the Advantage consortium, may be difficult if the market continues to underperform, with February and March already causing more pessimism than optimism.
“It will depend on how strong the market is and it’s still early days. I would hope for a 20% growth but if the market turns out to be significantly down it could be a big ask,” he said.