Portfolio News

Blue Bay Travel basks in record start to year

Blue Bay Travel, the award-winning online luxury travel agent specialising in long-haul holidays to the Caribbean, Mexico and Indian Ocean, has celebrated a record start to 2018 by increasing year-on-year sales by 71 per cent and securing a record numbers of bookings made in a single day, week and month.   

The business, which has been backed by mid-market private equity firm LDC since February 2017, has also continued to invest in its technology platform, increased headcount by 30 per cent, expanded its office space, and launched its premium Xclusivity brand to provide a broadened geographic and bespoke product offering to customers. 

In addition, Blue Bay Travel has pioneered online transacting in the long-haul travel market with its online and offline booking and customer service model, which sets it apart from more traditional operators in the luxury segment. This investment in technology has led to more than 30 per cent of its bookings being made online, as consumers shopping for premium holidays turn increasingly to the internet. The business’ typical booking value has now exceeded £4,000, solidifying its position in the luxury market.

Building on this technology leadership, the business plans to further diversify its holiday destination portfolio and evolve the online functionality of its website, whilst maintaining its high levels of customer service. The new partnership with members-only travel site Secret Escapes will also bring a widened audience to Blue Bay Travel’s growing customer base, direct web traffic and social media followings.

Stuart Wilson, founder and CEO of Blue Bay Travel, said: “We’ve had a record start to 2018 and this momentum looks set to continue as we build on our current achievements, further extending our offering and harnessing best-in-class technology to directly offer great destinations, customer service and price transparency to our clients.

“Having an investment partner like LDC onboard sharing your ambitions has been hugely beneficial, giving us the clarity of vision to execute our growth plans, and the capital to make it happen.”

David Andrews, Investment Director at LDC, added: “Since we partnered with Stuart and his team just over a year ago, they have shown the drive and determination to achieve significant growth in a short space of time. With a clear plan to capitalise on the growing demand in the long-haul and luxury market, we anticipate the business’ sales to continue on an upward trajectory.”

LDC invested in Blue Bay Travel in February 2017 to accelerate its growth through investment in technology and launching new products. The deal saw travel industry veteran Andrew Gardner, who founded Cruise.co.uk, join the board as non-executive chairman.

Article Footnotes

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is part of the Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
  2. LDC back ambitious management teams from UK-based companies seeking between £2m and £100m of equity for management buy-outs, institutional buy-outs or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Construction & Property, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure and Support Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network of 9 offices.