Business travel providers Hogg Robinson announced an increase in revenues for the last year and said its strategy of developing technology in-house was paying off.
Hogg Robinson, which provides travel booking, hotel reservations and foreign currency services to corporate travellers, announced that pre-tax profits fell by 39 per cent to £15 million for the year to March 2009, but reported a six per cent increase in revenue to £351m. In its preliminary results the company said that although corporate travel is dropping, they are witnessing an increase in travel to emerging markets such as China, the Middle East and South America.
Unlike many travel corporations Hogg Robinson has pursued a strategy of developing its technology in-house, “Technology remains a critical success factor in our business, even more so during tough economic times,” the company said. “Our decision, made some years ago, to develop and own our technology has proved to be the right one since it gives us the necessary flexibility to ensure that our focus remains on serving the individual needs of our clients.”
The Hogg Robinson IT division, led by CIO Bill Brindle, has developed its own platform, Universal Super Platform, from which most of its online services operate from. Over the last year the IT division has renegotiated a number of its IT infrastructure contracts and carried out a process efficiency review right across the global business. Microsoft is one of the key suppliers to Hogg Robinson.
Hogg Robinson has also used its technology to lower costs by enabling 100 of its UK-based travel consultants to work from home and it is looking to increase this.
Hogg Robinson has implemented its USP platform into the Queensland Government in Australia, which it describes as a significant contract. The Australian economy and travel sector has been hit heavily it said.
A series of contract wins have helped Hogg Robinson report healthy revenues. New clients in the last year include broadcasters Sky, laptop maker Lenovo, the Nationwide Building Society and new contracts have been signed with BNP Paribas, News Corporation, publisher Axel Springer, Barclays, HSBC, Prudential, PwC, and Sony.