July 24, 2024

‘Tough decisions’ help Advantage improve balance sheet

Advantage Travel Centres has reported a net loss of £327,000 before tax for its last financial year, with group net assets of just under £5.1m. This compares with a heavier loss before tax of £1.6m for 2019/20.

The group said it has managed to improve its balance sheet through “taking tough decisions, careful financial management and adapting quickly to the evolving environment”.

It said 17 new members joined the consortium during the year, with a combined added turnover of £55m.

Chairman Steven Esom said: “When our last financial year concluded we were experiencing the first signs of the easing of Covid international travel restrictions. The outlook was far from certain, and we knew it would take time and a good degree of skill to navigate ourselves into calmer waters.

“We also knew that we had to make some very tough decisions to ensure that Advantage remained financially sound and was able to invest in the business as we came out of the pandemic.

“During the year the membership has shown remarkable resilience to stand up and face the challenges caused by the pandemic. Whilst we have sadly experienced some member failures, we have also been able to recruit new members into the organisation.”

CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said added: “Our profile across business, government and the media has increased exponentially, and it has given us a seat at the table and a voice to help drive change for the future of our industry and our members.

“As we move forward through 2022, we have reflected the post pandemic business environment in our refreshed strategy which will continue to build a stronger and united Advantage group, focused on the key interests and concerns of our members.

“We have adopted new ways of working which will bring greater flexibility and ensure that we can recruit and retain the best skills and talent. We will continue to speak out for our members as well look to further strengthen our collective voice and stature as one of the leading groups of independent travel businesses globally for both business and leisure.”

Meanwhile, Suzanne Horner has been re-elected unopposed as a Non-Exec Director to the Advantage Travel Centres Board and will serve another three-year term.

Horner, CEO at the Gray Dawes Group and also Chairperson of the BTA Board, said: “The past few years has been the biggest challenge of most of our lives and I am honoured with the rest of my Board c0olleagues to have had the opportunity to support Julia Lo Bue-Said and the team as they have navigated through. 

“The next three years will see Advantage really grow and excel and I am delighted to be at the table to offer my help and support wherever needed.”   

Debbie Flynn, Managing Partner of PR company Finn Partners, has joined the Board in an advisory role and Jeanne Lally, who has served for two terms as a Non-Executive Director, will step down at the company’s next Annual General Meeting. 

Esom said: “I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to Jeanne for her contribution and commitment to Advantage over the years.  She has been a highly-valued member of the Board and steps down with our thanks and best wishes for the future. 

“I am also delighted that Suzanne has been re-appointed and will continue to work alongside Joanne Dooey (Love to Travel), Sharon May (Worldwide Travel Solutions), Chris Marks (Baldwins Travel), James Beagrie (Meon Valley Travel) and Paul Hardwick (Fred. Olsen Travel), as we come out of the pandemic and move into the recovery phase.
“The last two years have been unlike any other for our industry and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Julia and the Advantage team for all their hard work during the past 12 months, and our members for their unwavering loyalty during this very challenging period. 

“As we move forward, we have a very clear strategy for the future, one that will build on and strengthen our leadership position as the UK’s largest independent travel agent partnership and deliver long-term sustainable growth for the company and all its stakeholders.” 

The Advantage Travel Partnership AGM will take place on May 11 2022 and its conference takes place in Madeira on April 29-May 2.