PORTFOLIO

Blue Bay Travel: Support for long-haul growth

Founders of online travel agent secure minority investment to support continued growth.

Sector
  • Travel & leisure

Blue Bay Travel is the award-winning online travel agent specialising in long-haul holidays to the Caribbean, Mexico and Indian Ocean.

Deal type
  • Development capital
Investment

£6.5m

The Team
LDC Region

Blue Bay Travel is the award-winning online travel agent specialising in long-haul holidays to the Caribbean, Mexico and the Indian Ocean.

Founded in 2003 by Stuart and Angela Wilson, Blue Bay Travel provides holidays to more than 16,500 passengers per year.

Investing in technology and people

In February 2017 Blue Bay Travel secured a £6.5m investment from LDC with a view to using LDC’s support through investing in its proprietary price comparison technology, as well as expanding its 60-strong team of travel experts. As part of the deal, LDC acquired a significant minority shareholding.

Pioneering processes

Following the beginning of the partnership with LDC, Blue Bay Travel celebrated a record start to 2018 by increasing year-on-year sales by 71 per cent and securing a record numbers of bookings made in a single day, week and month.

The management team also continued to invest in its technology platform, increased headcount by 30 per cent, expanded Blue Bay’s office space and launched its premium Xclusivity brand, providing a broadened geographic and bespoke product offering to customers.

In addition, Blue Bay Travel also pioneered online transacting in the long-haul travel market with its online and offline booking and customer service model, which sets it apart from more traditional operators in the luxury segment.

This investment in technology has led to more than 30 per cent of its bookings being made online, as consumers shopping for premium holidays turn increasingly to the internet. The business’ typical booking value has also exceeded £4,000, solidifying its position in the luxury market.

We’ve come this far on our own, but the time is right to bring on board a partner with the capital and expertise to help us deliver the ultimate ambition for the business and create exciting new job opportunities under the guidance of our market-leading specialisms.”
Stuart Wilson, Founder and CEO
Blue Bay Travel

New horizons

Building on this technology leadership, the business plans to further diversify its holiday destination portfolio and evolve the online functionality of its website, whilst maintaining its high levels of customer service.

A partnership with members-only travel site Secret Escapes is also bringing a widened audience to Blue Bay Travel’s growing customer base, direct web traffic and social media followings.

Awards

Outstanding Achievement Award

Sandals 2019

Tour Operator of the Year for Small Hotels in Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia Awards 2019

Digital Champions of the Year (Small Agency)

Agent Achievement Awards 2019

Long Haul Agency of the Year

Kuoni Awards 2019

Best Caribbean Package Holidays Operator & Online Travel Agency of the Year

LUX Travel and Tourism Awards 2019

Growth Management Team of the Year

BVCA Midlands Management Team Awards 2018