ANOTHER YEAR OF GROWTH & PROGRESS
Secret Escapes Group, one of the world’s leading, members-only online travel and experiences companies, is pleased to announce its results for the year ended 31 December 2018.
2018 was another exciting year for Secret Escapes with continued strong organic growth across the Group. The Group increased its revenues and profitability in its established territories during the year following strong performances from the Secret Escapes brand in UK, Germany, Sweden and from the Slevomat and Travelist brands in Czech Republic and Poland. The Group has continued to successfully invest in its developing markets, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France and Slovakia, which delivered high levels of revenue growth in 2018.
2018 financial highlights:
- Underlying revenue increased to £101.3m (2017: £72.3m)1 with over 50% of revenues arising from outside of the UK1
- Underlying adjusted EBITDA increased to £1.4m (2017: £(8.6)m), achieving profitability in line with business strategy2
- Net cash flow from operating activities was £12.5m (2017: £3.8m)
- Reduced overall Group loss to £11m (2017: £(14.6)m)
- Strong balance sheet with sufficient resources to fund the next phase of growth
2018 operational highlights
- Continued membership growth across all brands with increased range of offers following investment in packaging technology
- Successful integration of Slevomat Group, central and eastern Europe’s leading travel deals and experiences company
- Acquired the technology and brand assets from TravelBird, a pan-European online travel platform
- High customer satisfaction scores maintained
Investment in technology enhancing customer offer
In 2018, Secret Escapes has continued to invest in its Group-wide technology, including its sophisticated CRM, personalisation technology and Al, enhancing its ability to market the right offers at the right time, driving first and repeat purchases from across its 65 million strong membership base. It has also focused on developing its in-house ability which has enabled the Group to build and market its own, compelling packaged travel and experiences offers, tailored to individual members.
Following their integration with existing Group operations in the regions, Slevomat and Travelist have benefitted from this investment in technology. Their customers and partners have benefitted from the reciprocal sharing of supply, further strengthening the brands’ market leadership.
In November 2018, the Group acquired the brand and assets of TravelBird, a pan-European online travel platform, including its intellectual property, proprietary packaging and data technology, logos and customer base. Following the acquisition, Secret Escapes re-launched the brand and website, generating sales in multiple geographies. The 2019 focus is on integrating the acquired technology across other parts of the Group, building synergies and enhancing the Group’s ability to offer a varied range of travel experiences to members in key markets.
Strong start to 2019
The Group has made further progress in 2019, acquiring the owner of Pigsback.com, the leading Irish premium hospitality and offers website, Empathy Marketing Limited, in addition to its other premium offers sites3. The transaction gives the Group a strong foothold in Ireland, an increasingly popular travel destination, and benefits both Secret Escapes’ and Pigsback.com’s partners and customers through the multiple supply synergies.
The Group also recently announced the appointment of Andy Botha as Chief Financial Officer, effective 2 September 2019. Andy, formerly Group Chief Financial Officer at ZPG, has over 17 years’ experience working with high growth digital, e-commerce and leisure businesses and is an experienced Board level leader, with success in leading operational businesses during periods of high growth, both in the UK and internationally.
In September, the Group acquired the intellectual property of Late Rooms Limited, including LateRooms.com and of its joint venture site, LateLuxury.com. Secret Escapes plans to restart LateLuxury.com as soon as practicable.
Alex Saint, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Secret Escapes Group commented:
“I am delighted at the performance in 2018 and at the progress achieved in the continued development of our in-house technology. The demand for inspirational travel experiences continues to grow with consumers placing an even greater emphasis on curated and authentic experiences. We have a large and engaged membership and, by leveraging our data and technology, we can create and market increasingly personalised offers to continue to drive further growth. We remain focused on our strategy to grow the business, strengthening our presence in our profitable established territories, increasing market share in our developing territories and the continued integration of acquisitions.”