On the Beach expects demand to remain weak

Manchester-based online holiday retailer On the Beach Group plc (OTB) said on Friday consumer demand for holidays has remained very weak amid Covid lockdowns as it published a trading update for the four months to January 31, 2021.

“As a result of the four week lockdown in November and the subsequent UK-wide lockdown that commenced in early January 2021, combined with further reductions in winter flying programmes, consumer demand for forward holidays has remained very weak with UK traffic, bookings and spend on online marketing activity across the first four months of the financial year down 73%, 83% and 85% respectively,” said the company.

“The group has responded prudently to the latest travel restrictions by taking holidays off-sale that depart prior to 1 May 2021.

“We expect booking demand to remain weak until these restrictions are lifted and vaccine deployment is more widespread, both in the UK and our major travel destinations, which will impact H1 and full year performance.”

On The Beach Group CEO Simon Cooper said: “The first four months of our financial year have seen differing tiering levels across the UK, followed by the current nationwide lockdown and ban on international leisure travel.

“Clearly this has and continues to impact booking volumes and the Board believes that booking volumes will remain weak through H1 and into H2.

“Following the prudent activities undertaken in the last financial year, the group remains in a strong and debt-free financial position.

“The board is confident about the group’s long term strategy and we will continue to evaluate the growing range of exciting opportunities to build our market share both in the UK and internationally.”