Blue Bay Travel
Online agents Blue Bay Travel say that their growth was being hampered by the relationship they had with their previous consortium. In the year before they joined Co-op Travel Consortium their year-vs-year growth rate was +3%, but in the year following the move the growth level improved significantly to +21%.
MD Maxine Rowland believes that this initial achievement and subsequent success can be attributed, in large, to Blue Bay having joined Co-op Travel Consortium when it did. Being backed by a reputable brand like Midcounties Co-operative not only reassures their existing and potential customers but without Co-op Travel Consortium, the company would need to recruit at least 3-4 people in administrative roles, likely costing around £50k - £70k per year.
Blue Bay Travel is an online agent/operator based in Staffordshire, specialising in long haul travel. They have two long haul consumer brands – Caribbean Warehouse and Tropical Warehouse – and recently launched a new luxury brand, Xclusivity. They have been implementing ambitious growth plans since 2012 when they joined Co-op Travel Consortium. They secured investment from LDC in 2017 and their intention is to continue to evolve and strive for further significant growth with the support of Midcounties Co-operative.
Blue Bay analysed the number of extra responsibilities they would need to consider if they were to “go it alone”, i.e. without a consortium partner, and concluded that they would need to fulfil a significant list in various areas of the business. Not only would they need to secure independent ABTA membership and ATOL licences, but also arrange enhanced insurance, issue their own T&Cs, set up an incoming bank account, agree credit/debit card charges and source external support and advice on a regular basis.
This is one of the reasons they decided to make the move to Co-op Travel Consortium. Although they were apprehensive about the scale of the move, the results they have achieved since joining Co-op Travel Consortium have been worth it. Their growth was a steady +3% during the last year with their previous consortium, and in the two years following the move they saw significant growth of +21% and +22% respectively. Their turnover and staff headcount since the move is no less impressive. In December 2011 turnover was £15m, and by the end of 2017 this had doubled to £30m. In 2011 they had 25-30 employees, and they now have 75 employed team members and 11 homeworkers.