With record-breaking sales in January and February, and being named TTG Luxury Homeworking Business of the Year, the Holidaysplease Travel Homeworking Team were on a real roll in early 2020.
Then March came along, the true extent of the Covid-19 pandemic became obvious, and the World shut down.
In subsequent blog articles we outlined our initial response and actions to the impact of Covid on travel and our business, how our performance began to recover, and how by reacting to the changing market place the Holidaysplease Homeworkers were finding a way to make sales and earn commission whilst most travel agents were moth-balling or making just the odd booking every now and then.
Looking at the 2nd half of 2020 from the start of July to the close of December, we can see how as a business and as individual homeworkers, Team Holidaysplease has been able to consistently out perform the travel market.
Firstly, our marketing team performed wonders keeping the Holidaysplease website busy with visitors and generating new enquiries for our homeworkers. Total enquiry numbers for the 6 months were down 6%, but that still left an average of 3,500 new holiday enquiries a month coming in which was plenty of opportunity for the homeworkers.
The result was a 22% increase in bookings to new customer bookings against the same period in 2019.
Although conversion and therefore booking numbers overall were lower, a 28% increase in the Holidaysplease average sale value to £6,385 meant that we achieved sales revenues equal to 68% of the second half of 2019, at a time when most travel agents were reporting achieving 20-30% of last years revenues at best.
And with improved gross margins, and lower discounting levels, we saw a 9% increase in the Holidaysplease net margin, resulting in net commission, the key driver of profit and homeworker earnings, being at 76% of 2019 for July – December sales. So down, but far from out!
As we head into 2021 with a National Lockdown in place once again, it perhaps may seem foolish to feel optimistic for the prospects of the year ahead, but that is exactly what we are. Getting on the front foot and believing that a decent result can be achieved every day of every week whatever the market conditions is a key mindset of every successful travel homeworker, and it has certainly served us well as a business over the last 10 months.
Online retail businesses continue to trade pretty much unhindered by public lockdowns and the closure of our High Streets, and travel homeworkers are uniquely placed to deliver outstanding service to existing and new customers even during the strictest of lockdowns.
And in a post-pandemic market that is sure to place service, trust and expertise above anything else, travel companies like Holidaysplease and individual homeworkers that have enhanced their reputation through the pandemic by being there for their customers and acting in the right way, will be in high demand.