It was a tough 2011 for Transat AT Inc. Compared to a profit of $52.4 million in 2010, the Canadian tour operator based out of Montreal posted a fourth quarter loss of $4.5 million and a loss on the year of $12.2 million. Despite increased revenues of almost $30 million, the company missed their expectations partially due to restructuring and higher fuel costs combined with difficult economic conditions. Although they do still face a challenging 2012, the future looks bright and both travel agents and the traveling public shouldn’t panic just yet.
Keep in mind, the travel industry is a roller coaster of ups and downs, of trends and fads, it is often a very unpredictable market that makes it hard to forecast upcoming expectations. The best thing an airline or tour operator can do is try to predict where this ever-changing market is heading, adjust your course, and hope that at the end of the day, when the dust settles, you are profitable and looked upon favorably as a leader in the industry. This is what Transat AT Inc. is doing.
As part of their restructuring, they are looking at ways of enhancing their hotel product and upgrading their fleet. This includes the retrofitting of 5 of their Airbus A330s with new seats, configurations, lighting and entertainment in the next year with several more over the next two years. Transat is also currently in talks with their hotel partners negotiating to reduce costs and offer exclusive products. The improvements to their fleet is, of course… mostly for aesthetic purposes to provide the consumer with a positive experience. The improvements to their already impressive product line-up is what should be the proverbial kicker.
In the winter, Transat Holidays has for over 20 years been an industry leader in the leisure travel market to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America by offering many exclusive hotels to the hottest destinations. During the European travel season (spring/summer), not only do they offer over 30 destinations and the most flight options of any Canadian charter, the product add-ons for tours, hotels, and excursions available through Transat Holidays make them the smart choice for the full holiday experience. By improving on an already “year-round” quality product as it is now, Transat can only have success and profitability in the coming future.
The fact is this. Restructuring, upgrading and improving your business costs money. At times it hurts the bottom dollar but in the case of Air Transat Holidays, it is an investment that is not only worth it, but necessary in such a competitive market and will pay off dividends in the next couple of years.