hotel.de publishes report on 1st quarter of 2008: Strong growth in the first three months of 2008, new international brand hotel.info, positive outlook for the year as a whole
Nuremberg, 28 May 2008 – At its analysts' and press conference held today, hotel.de AG presented its report on the 1st quarter of 2008 and backed up its pleasing quarterly figures with a positive outlook for the year as a whole. One of the leading online reservation services for the global mediation of hotel accommodation, the company posted substantial year-on-year sales growth of 37.7% to Euro 6.9 million (Q1 2007: Euro 5.0 million).
hotel.de acquires new international brand
As part of its growth and internationalisation strategy, hotel.de acquired all of the rights relating to www.hotel.info at the end of the 1st of quarter 2008, taking over hotel.info HI GmbH for this purpose and launching a free hotel evaluation and booking portal at the new domain. "The international character of the hotel.info domain will enable us to access international target groups far more rapidly and inexpensively than with the existing TravelRes brand, which we will be gradually replacing with hotel.info", explained Dr. Heinz Raufer, CEO of hotel.de AG. In the first weeks since going online, the company has already seen great interest from users worldwide and very wide coverage.
Significant sales growth and balanced result
The international business once again posted an especially strong performance. International sales grew by almost 60% to Euro 3.0 million (Q1 2007: Euro 1.9 million), thus providing a resounding confirmation of hotel.de’s internationalisation strategy. Sales in Germany rose from Euro 3.2 million to Euro 4.0 million. "The consistent increase in our international share of total sales, which now amounts to 42.7%, underlines the great progress we have made with our internationalisation", added Raufer.
The very warm reception granted to the hotel.de and hotel.info portals by international hotels and booking customers was also reflected in the 1st quarter by a further rise in expenses by around Euro 1.1 million merely for the internationalisation programme. Other operating expenses therefore rose from Euro 2.0 million to Euro 3.3 million. Personnel expenses also increased slightly as a proportion of sales, rising by 40.4% to Euro 3.5 million (Q1 2007: Euro 2.5 million). The personnel expenses ratio, generally high in the 1st quarter due to seasonal factors, thus amounted to 51.1%. In the medium term, hotel.de aims to significantly reduce this figure, partly by means of a process optimisation programme launched this year. The management expects to see initial benefits in 2008 already. hotel.de had 505 employees in the 1st quarter (Q1 2007: 292 employees). The company reduced its cost of materials by 16.9% from Euro 0.6 million to Euro 0.5 million.
Overall, with EBIT of Euro -0.1 million (Q1 2007: Euro 0.2 million), the company virtually broke even on an operating level and did break even in terms of its net surplus for the period (Q1 2007: Euro 0.1 million). The margin improvement programme has already shown initial success. As in previous years, due to seasonal factors, the 2nd and 3rd quarters will see far more substantial sales and earnings contributions.
The Management Board is confident about the future. “For the 2008 financial year as a whole, we expect sales to grow to between Euro 34.0 million and Euro 36.0 million. Given the international comprehensibility of the new www.hotel.info domain, the international expansion can be expected to show even more dynamic growth.” Now that the conference tool has been integrated into corporate customer programmes, the management also expects to see more marked growth in the conference division. In terms of costs, the process optimisation programme launched this year will have a positive effect. The measures taken to improve margins will also have a more marked impact on the company’s earnings performance in 2008, leading the Management Board to expect substantial growth in operating earnings (EBIT) and the annual net surplus.
hotel.de with its international brands hotel.info and TravelRes runs a free of charge hotel reservation service for companies and private users on www.hotel.de, www.hotel.info,
www.hotel.ch. The company offers 210,000 hotels worldwide to be booked online. Since January 2007, hotel.de has also been offering conferences. Therefore, the company had taken over the conference data base, the online booking tool and the customer base of intergerma Marketing GmbH & Co. KG. Compared to other booking channels, hotel.de/TravelRes customers benefit from considerable cost savings (for business customers up to 40%). Additionally, all available rates for every single hotel are always displayed (e.g. promotional rates, corporate or weekend rates), so that the customer can choose the lowest or best-fitting rate. Another major advantage of hotel.de/TravelRes is the fact that booking confirmations are sent right into the hotel’s computer - making a reservation fast, safe and reliable. This is enabled by hotel.de/TravelRes’ unique integration of the hotels' central reservation systems (so-called CRS) under one consistent user surface. Well-known companies, such as Procter & Gamble, SAP AG, Texas Instruments Inc. And Ernst & Young AG already use the hotel.de/TravelRes corporate application.
hotel.info is the international brand of hotel.de AG. This brand was established for pushing ahead its expansion into the European countries and will successively replace the brand TravelRes. For supporting customer and hotel acquisition offices in London, Paris and Barcelona have been set up, to be followed by other important countries. The strong customer loyalty and the high ratio of business customers facilitate hotel.info’s entry into the new markets as many foreign-based subsidiaries or parent enterprises of German companies contracted by hotel.de already have been using hotel.info. Therefore this clientele are the first potential customers. The aim is to establish hotel.info as the leading online hotel reservation service for business as well as private customers in the foreign markets mentioned and – step by step – in Europe as a whole.