LAST summer's heat-wave has resulted in a dip in sun holiday sales for this year at the country's largest travel agency.
That is according to director of Club Travel, Colman Burke. He was commenting on accounts for 2013, which show pre-tax profits dropped by 24pc to €3.3m at the company.
Revenues at the Dublin-based firm decreased by 7.5pc to €80m in the 12 months to the end of October 31, 2013, from €86.45m a year earlier.
"Last summer's hot spell didn't impact our revenues significantly," Mr Burke said yesterday. "However, it is impacting early holiday sales for 2014. Apparently, since we had a good summer last year, most people assume we are bound to have another scorcher this year. They forget we only get a good summer every seven or eight years," he said.
Commenting on the overall performance of Club Travel last year, Mr Burke said: "We are very pleased with the results. Our corporate business net of the Government Account performed strongly, and our Budget Travel brand experienced an exceptional increase in online sales."
Club Travel lost the Government's travel account to Carson Wagonlit in August 2012, Mr Burke said.
"2013 was our full first year without the Government Travel Account, which impacted our overall revenue – net of the Government Account, revenues actually grew. However, we are seeing continued pressure on margins."
Mr Burke said: "strong online competition from abroad has had a negative effect on our leisure margins in both the flight-only and holiday sectors".
In terms of 2014, Mr Burke said: "While we are forecasting a small increase in revenues, however, overall profit will decrease.
"Corporate travel, which accounts for over 50pc of our business, is on the up due to the improvement in the economy and export growth. We continue to invest heavily in travel, technology and automation, ensuring our continued competitiveness.
He added: "We are very happy with our performance relative to our competitors, and are quite optimistic that we will see an improvement in revenues and profitability in 2015."
The balance sheet for the firm remains very strong, with cash increasing by over €2m to €39.59m, with accumulated profits totalling €36.88m.
Numbers employed by the firm last year increased from 130 to 136, with staff costs increasing marginally to €4.3m.
Mr Burke sits on the board with company founder Liam Lonergan and Helen Lonergan.
Emoluments to directors last year, including pension contributions, totalled €328,549 compared to €317,243 in 2012.