On The Beach on the up

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“Marketing efficiencies” and its “bespoke bid management capability” have helped UK-based online travel agent On The Beach to a pretax profit for the year to end-Sept16 of £16.9 million, turning round a loss of £2.5 million for the same period last year.

In a digital marketing context, the UK operation has managed to reduce its online marketing spend as a percentage of revenue to 44.7% compared with 48.6% last year. UK revenues at the same time are up by 12.3% to £70.2m.

Daily unique visitors to the UK site increased by 12.6% to 61.3 million with branded and free traffic up 11.0% to 54%.

Elsewhere, it noted that smartphone bookings were up 74% year on year  and that logged-in users – an increasingly important  metric for OTAs – are up by 100% year-on-year. Its iPhone, iPad and Android apps have been downloaded around 800,000 times cumulatively over the past two years. Overall, 70% of its traffic is coming from mobile, with 46% from smartphones alone.

It also talked up its “bespoke personalisation technology and testing framework”.

On The Beach wants to become “Europe’s leading online retailer of beach holidays” and launched eBeach in Sweden at the start of its 2015 financial year, with the aim of breaking even within three years. This unit’s performance in the year to end-Sept16 was all about “driving significant gains in market traffic share in a cost effective manner, while increasing awareness of our brand.”

Unique visitors to eBeach were up 53% with the cost per visitor down by 18%. In cash terms revenues from Sweden were up 57.1% to £1.1m with its EBITDA loss the same as last year at £1.8 million.

It is launching a site for Norway this month.

Shares are up – at the time of writing – by more than 8% today to 267p, giving it a market capitalization of £348m.

Click here to read the preliminary results document in full.

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