|hotel.de publishes half-year figures for 2009|
Nuremberg, 14 August 2009 - hotel.de AG, one of the leading worldwide online hotel reservation services, boosted its sales significantly to Euro 8.4 million in the second quarter of 2009, up 21.2% on the first three months of the year (previous year: Euro 8.9 million). Sales for the first half of 2009 as a whole amounted to Euro 15.4 million and thus fell only slightly short of the previous year’s figure of Euro 15.9 million in spite of the sharp downturn in business travel due to the economic crisis. Positive developments were shown by sales in Germany, which rose year-on-year by 10.3% from Euro 8.3 million to Euro 9.2 million. Due to the crisis-induced decline in international travel and foreign booking customers substantially cutting back on travel expenses, international sales amounted to Euro 6.2 million, as against Euro 7.6 million in the previous year.
The company’s earnings position also improved significantly in the second quarter. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) returned to the black, rising from Euro -1.2 million in the first quarter to Euro 0.9 million in the second quarter. EBIT for the first half thus amounted to Euro -0.3 million, compared with Euro 0.7 million in the previous year. At Euro -50 thousand, net income for the period was now only slightly negative (previous year: Euro 0.6 million).
Measures to enhance sales and earnings take effect
“In spite of ongoing tough conditions in the business travel segment, we have reported a very good performance for the second quarter and thus virtually made up for the negative results of the weak first quarter. This is first and foremost a result of the consistent implementation of our package of measures. We will be pressing ahead with these in the coming months as well, so as to conclude the challenging 2009 financial year on a positive note,” commented Dr. Heinz Raufer, CEO of hotel.de AG. The company acted at an early stage to counter the negative impact of declining travel budgets due to companies cutting costs, falling room prices and the marked decline in longer trips by introducing process optimisations, consistent cost management, commission increases and a marketing and sales campaign. Personnel expenses, for example, could be reduced to Euro 3.4 million in the second quarter, down Euro 0.4 million on the first three months. The workforce numbered 416 employees as of 30 June 2009 (previous year: 527). The stepping up of the marketing and sales campaign had a positive impact in two respects. On the one hand, the company has been able to establish the hotel.de brand as the best-known hotel reservation service. This was confirmed by an independent, representative online survey in May 2009. On the other hand, hotel.de is increasingly attracting new customers from small and medium-sized companies, which are expected to generate above-average growth in the business travel market in coming years. This is also confirmed by the German Business Travel Association (VDR) in its latest study. Positive outlook overall Against this
The stepping up of the marketing and sales campaign had a positive impact in two respects. On the one hand, the company has been able to establish the hotel.de brand as the best-known hotel reservation service. This was confirmed by an independent, representative online survey in May 2009. On the other hand, hotel.de is increasingly attracting new customers from small and medium-sized companies, which are expected to generate above-average growth in the business travel market in coming years. This is also confirmed by the German Business Travel Association (VDR) in its latest study.
Positive outlook overall
Against this backdrop, hotel.de AG is optimistic about the future. “We believe that our product is absolutely in step with its time. Rising cost awareness will continue to affect travel management at companies and among private customers in future as well, and customers will increasingly turn to inexpensive online solutions. Not only that, the consistent enlargement of our customer base and optimisation of our internal structures mean that we are superbly positioned for the expected upturn in the economy,” added Raufer confidently. For the 2009 financial year as a whole, the Management Board confirmed its forecast of achieving sales at the same level as in the previous year with a neutral earnings performance.
The extensive half-year report is available for downloading from the Investor Relations section of the company’s homepage at www.hotel.de.
hotel.de AG, with its international brand hotel.info, operates a free hotel reservation service for companies and private customers at www.hotel.de and www.hotel.info. The company offers more than 210,000 hotels worldwide for booking online. Customers benefit in this respect from considerable cost savings. hotel.de shows all available room rates for each hotel, thus always enabling customers to select the lowest or most appropriate rate. All bookings are forward simultaneously, securely and directly to the individual hotel. This is guaranteed by the unique integration of hotels’ own reservation systems (so-called CRS and PMS systems) and hotel.de’s own myRES reservation system under hotel.de’s standard user surface. hotel.de’s corporate application is already used by well-known companies, such as BASF, SAP AG, Texas Instruments and Ernst & Young AG. Since January 2007, hotel.de has extended its portfolio to include a conference enquiries and booking system. Business customers in particular stand to save time and money due to the optimised conference organisation processes facilitated by this conference tool.
hotel.info – the international brand of hotel.de AG – was created to promote the company’s expansion into international markets. To acquire new customers and hotels abroad, sales offices have already been opened in the UK (London), France (Paris), Spain (Barcelona), Italy (Rome) and China (Shanghai). The company’s high share of business customers with international operations facilitates its entry into new markets. The aim is to establish hotel.info as the leading online hotel reservation service for business and private customers in the foreign markets mentioned and then step by step across the whole of Europe.