Shearings Group carried a record 1.1m passengers last year, an increase of 2%, thanks to continuing demand from its over 50s target customer.
Total revenues increased 3%, breaking through the £200m mark for the first time in its 100-year history (2014: £200.8m; 2013: £195m).
Improved trading, together with margin improvements, operating cost reductions and a restructuring of its hotel leases, led to a 22% increase in earnings (EBITDA) to £7.1m (2013: £5.8m).
The Wigan-based Group also continued investment in its coach fleet, hotel estate and systems. Total expenditure on hotel refurbishments in 2014 reached £3.6m, while investment in its 240-strong fleet has been over £25m in the last two years
The business, which was the subject of a management buyout last year, also reduced its overall net indebtedness further to £4.5m (2013: £7.8m).
Denis Wormwell, CEO of Shearings Group, said: “This was a truly transformational year for the Group, with a successful capital restructuring and the third successive year of improved financial results, despite the challenging backdrop of unfavourable weather in the earlier part of 2014.
“Our loyal customers are experiencing the benefit of our ongoing investment programme in hotels, coaches and digital technology and we’ve attracted thousands of new customers with our ever-expanding range of short and long breaks in the UK and overseas markets.”
In the year to date, Shearings said that total bookings remained positive and forward sales for the summer were up on the previous year, despite the continuing trend towards late bookings.
Over a third of the Group’s bookings are now made online and it expects this to increase to 50% by the end of next year. Shearings has also invested in new mobile websites for its Coast & Country and Bay Hotels brands, making it easier for customers to book, and a new Shearings site will be launched before the summer.
Denis continued: “The ongoing rise in bookings and customer volumes has given us the confidence to continue the significant capital investment in our hotel estate. Over the next two years we’ll be investing almost £10m in room upgrades and improved facilities which we expect to increase further our repeat booking rates and customer loyalty.”
Alongside its results, the Group also announced that former Travelodge CEO and Chairman Grant Hearn has joined the Shearings Board as a Non-Executive Director (NED). The appointment of Grant, who holds NED roles at retailer Poundland and Scandic Hotels as well as being Chairman of Hotel Collection, follows the appointment of Phil White, former CEO of National Express Group as Chairman, last year.