Caledonian Leisure puts its foot on the gas amid revival in holiday bookings

UK holiday operator Caledonian Leisure is targeting further growth in 2022 after what it has described as a successful first year of trading.

The business includes coach holiday specialist Caledonian Travel and hotel breaks operator, which were bought out of administration in July 2020 by former managers led by Graham Rogers following the collapse of parent company Specialist Leisure Group (SLG). The revived operation is backed by a multi-million pound investment from the Mobeus venture capital trusts and advised by Gresham House Asset Management.

Mr Rogers, managing director of Caledonian Travel, said the company has exceeded its targets for the first year after launching in April 2021. This was driven by the expansion of the brand beyond its Scottish heartland into northern England, with new departure points throughout the north-east and Yorkshire supported by the opening of travel centres in Glasgow, Middlesbrough and Wakefield.

Caledonian Travel plans to invest in its retail presence in 2022 with new travel centres at Gateshead Metro Interchange and Hull Paragon Interchange due to open “soon”,. There are plans for several more throughout the course of the year.

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A large multichannel marketing campaign is also due to be launched in a bid to further drive sales.

“Beating our first-year projections during a challenging climate was very satisfying,” Mr Rogers said. “We’re eager to build on this success and have ambitious plans to accelerate our growth in 2022.

“Holiday bookings for the coming year have started at a pace and we are already well ahead of our intake budgets, so we’re on course for another highly successful year.”

SLG went into administration in May 2020 with the loss of about 2,500 jobs. Mr Rogers, Martin Lock and Carl Brackenbury took over their part of the operation, which had 400 employees and annual revenues of £90 million from carrying 600,000 customers a year.

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