By Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends

Good result for online retailer Webjet, which has just posted a record net profit of A$9.4m for 2007/08. It was up 134% over the previous year, aided by some slick accounting that resulted in some one-off tax benefits. All key indicators were up but it seems the days of ballistic growth may be over. Webjet is forecasting a relatively sedate profit increase of “at least” 12% for this year.

While the report was big on numbers, it was short on detail. The annual report contained no business appraisal or revenue breakdown other than to list A$23m in ‘fees’ plus a couple of other odds and ends. Webjet is now charging $26.25 in “guarantee and processing fees” for the average domestic airfare booking.

In terms of outgoings, it spent around A$6m on marketing (1.8% of turnover) – it’s major expense – with around A$2m of this going to Google. The rest was spent on print, television and so on. Looking ahead, David Clarke is forecasting subdued demand though but will continue to market hard.

Travel Trends: August 7, 2008

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