Hotelplan Group sales slump

The Hotelplan Group looks back on a disastrous 2019/20 financial year. The pandemic-related travel restrictions are making life difficult for the tour operator. Sales have slumped massively, after a moderate decline in sales in the previous year.


In concrete terms, invoiced sales fell by 42 percent to around 809 million Swiss francs, as the Group announced on Tuesday. If the positive impact of the acquisition of the online travel provider Vtours in 2019 is factored out, there is even a drop in sales of around 58 percent on a more comparable basis.

Hotelplan speaks of the "bleakest business result ever" and justifies this with the Corona crisis. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the travel industry has been deprived of almost the entire basis of its business. However, customers have been held harmless and all Corona-related repayments have been made.

Because of the ever-changing quarantine and other regulations imposed by governments, Hotelplan had to organize tens of thousands of return trips for customers, cancel trips or rebook flights.

According to Hotelplan, the 2019/20 fiscal year, which starts on November 1, was still off to a good start. With the Corona crisis, however, travel came to an abrupt halt in March and was only possible to a limited extent in the following months.


Financial support from Migros

According to Hotelplan, the drastic decline in sales as well as the repayment of customer funds led to the worst annual result in history. The Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund, as the owner, therefore had to come to the aid of the cash-strapped tour operator by securing liquidity.

All sub-segments of Hotelplan suffered. At 212 million Swiss francs, the Swiss tour operator Hotelplan Suisse achieved less than half the sales of the previous year, despite the expansion of vacation offers in Switzerland. Accordingly, branches were also closed and jobs cut.

A total of 425 of the Group's 2,277 jobs were eliminated, as already announced at the end of June. In Switzerland, this affected around 170 of just under 1,200 jobs. Two weeks ago, Hotelplan announced that 75 of 86 branches in Switzerland would be temporarily closed by the end of February.

Sales of the subsidiary in the UK and of the two business travel providers bta First Travel and Finass Reisen also fell by more than half in each case, as did those of the online travel provider Vtours.


Vacation apartments in demand in summer

By contrast, the vacation apartment broker Interhome held up better, with sales down by around 30 percent to 237 million. The easing of travel restrictions in the summer led to higher demand, particularly in the respective home countries, but this only partially compensated for the losses due to Corona.

According to Hotelplan, a forecast for the current 2020/21 financial year is hardly possible at present. However, the desire for vacations is there, as can be seen, for example, in the booking figures of Interhome, which are only slightly behind the previous year. Decisive factors for travel behavior include the success of vaccination strategies and general travel conditions worldwide. (SDA)

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