Hogg Robinson shows business travel improving with 36% profits rise

UK-based business travel booking agency, Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) has reported a 36 per cent rise in full-year pre-tax profits in the year to 31 March 2011.
 
The company, whose customers include Volkswagen and UK Ministry of Defence, also expects to see earnings further improve by the end of the year as the sector continues to recover from the economic downturn.
 
“We anticipate the positive momentum we have seen in our markets to continue,” Chief Executive David Radcliffe said in a statement. “We will continue to innovate and invest for the longer term, and expect to make further progress through the course of the year.”

HRG’s overall client activity increased by 17 per cent year-on-year, while spend was also up by 23 per cent. “I am delighted to report on another good year for HRG, which has been marked by strong growth in revenue and earnings and supported by a strong recovery in global business travel,” Radcliffe said.

In light of its performance, the Board has recommended a 25 per cent increase in the dividend.

Radcliffe told the national news agency BBC News the company had seen growth across all regions, with the strongest rise in the Asia Pacific and North America.

“These results show that nothing will ever replace the need to meet face-to-face,” he added.

In related news, HRG has reassured clients it has “robust contingency plans” in place to minimise any interference to travel plans caused by ash from Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano, which started erupting on 21 May.

Radcliffe said the company had seen its profit be affected by the disruption last April from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland. At the time, the UK and European airspace was closed and 40,000 HRG clients were stranded. The company said they took more than 25,000 calls from business travellers across Europe, and beyond.

HRG arranged ground transportation across Europe, routed clients into southern Europe on flights to/from intercontinental airports, and chartered aircraft where appropriate. Where repatriation was not possible, HRG worked to secure and extend hotel rooms for enforced stays.

“While we had hoped that the mass disruption caused by the Eyjafjallajokull eruption would be an exceptional occurrence, experience tells us that it pays to be prepared,” Radcliffe said. “Our focus is on our clients and their travellers to make sure we do everything we possibly can to mitigate inconvenience. We would like to offer reassurance at this stage that our plans are robust and will help us to meet any challenges posed by this latest eruption.”

Hogg Robinson Group was established in 1845 and is an international corporate travel services company with headquarters located in Basingstoke, UK. The HRG worldwide network, including contracted partners, extends to over 120 countries.
 
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Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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