Travelzoo reports £1m UK half year profit

Nasdaq-listed media business Travelzoo has reported an operating profit of £1m from its UK business for the first six months of the year.

Chris Loughlin, former European vice president, told Wall Street analysts during his first earnings call as chief executive: “On a personal level, I’m very proud with what we’ve achieved  [in the UK].

Travelzoo’s UK operations ended the quarter with 1.9 million subscribers. Year-to-date revenues this quarter came in at £4.6 million, giving the UK business a year–to-date operating margin of 20%.

Loughlin repeated the company mantra that it will continue to spend on building up its subscriber base. “Building subscriber numbers, investing in the audience and generating revenues from them is working in the UK, it’s working in Canada.”

The Canadian business, launched in 2006, and returned a second quarter margin of 48%.

Its other European points of sale – Germany, France and Spain – continued to grow subscriber numbers with losses starting to come down.

Despite the UK’s profit, overall losses for Europe in the quarter came in at $800,000. However, Loughlin said that “We’d like to achieve an overall profit in Europe within the next three quarters. We think that is realistic”.

The second quarter included a number of challenges for the European markets, with the World Cup singled out alongside the ash crisis as the main drag on revenues.

However, “a week after England went out of the competition we had a record week in the UK,” he said.

Loughlin also revealed that the UK and German home pages would be redesigned along the same lines as the US site “within the next few months”.

Loughlin said that the US revamp, which went live a month or so ago, has met with a positive response from advertisers and consumers.

“We’ve got an opportunity, like a Starbucks fifteen twenty years ago, to build a global band and [the new] website represent our brand aspirations,” he said.

“The old web site, while it functioned well and did the job, didn’t necessarily represent our brand aspirations.”

Loughlin also said its fly.com vertical search brand was continuing to improve, and that further integration with the Travelzoo brand was key to its growth.

 >‘Unfinished business’: Chris Loughlin on the future of Travelzoo

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