On the Beach reports strong UK year, adds Denmark to international line-up

The full-year results presentation from London-listed On the Beach is a detailed look at how a specialist online travel agent can monetize a specific niche – short-haul beach holidays from the UK – through an asset-light model, backed by proprietary technology.

The business however does have aspirations to become “the leading European retailer of beach holidays”. It is launching in Denmark next year, has had a Swedish point of sale since the start of 2015 and went live in Norway at the end of 2016.

Sweden is still in the red, just, but On the Beach insists that it plans for “new source markets…to deliver a positive return within three full years of launch”. Sweden’s contribution relative to the UK is negligible, but it worth noting that On the Beach believes that “similar trends in Europe to the core UK market represent an attractive expansion opportunity…”

These trends are an expansion of low-cost carriers – which provide the transport element of On the Beach’s dynamic packages – and the fact that key western Europe leisure travel markets such as France and Germany still have some way to go when it comes to online penetration compared with the UK and Scandinavia.

But for now the business is very much focused on the UK, where revenues for the year to end-Sept17 were up 16.7% compared with FY16 to reach £81.9 million, generating an EBITDA of £32.7 million, up 30.3% year-on-year.

Revenues from Sweden were up by 48% but only worth £1.7 million, generating a slightly (£200,000) bigger EBITDA loss of £2 million.

The presentation includes a slide which highlights the CAGR across its many and various KPIs since 2013 – daily unique visitors up 15%, revenue per daily unique visitor up 6%, group revenue up 13%, revenue after marketing spend up 13%, fixed and variable costs as a percentage of revenue down 10% and EBITDA up 27%.

UK marketing costs were higher than last year at £37 million, of which £33.5 million was spent online. Offline marketing is being used to build awareness, and the volume of direct traffic during the year was 59%, 3% higher than last time.

Another important metric which is often overlooked in conversations about marketing efficiencies is the volume of repeat bookings. For the year nearly 40% of UK bookings were repeat, a figure which has been growing year-on-year since 2013. It is also starting to see traction in its the repeat booking profile for its Swedish business.

Elsewhere, the results show, among other things, that 56% of its traffic comes from smartphones, up from 45% last time.

The markets have responded positively to the announcement, with its share price up by around 10% on the day at the time of writing, giving it a market capitalization of more than £570 million.

Click here to access the On the Beach investor centre from where the presentation can be accessed.


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Martin Cowen

About the Writer :: Martin Cowen

Martin Cowen is contributing editor for tnooz and is based in the UK. Besides reporting and editing, he also oversees our sponsored content initiative and works directly with clients to produce articles and reports. For the past several years he has worked as a freelance writer, specialising in B2B distribution and technology. Before freelancing, from 2000-2008, he was launch editor for e-tid.com, the first online-only B2B daily news service for the UK travel sector.



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