A coach hire comparison website is celebrating the busiest six months in its history as the travel industry bounces back following the easing of COVID restrictions.
Coach Hire Comparison provided more than 42,000 quotes between April and the end of September. August was its best-ever month, with over 9,000 quotes issued.
The business, founded in 2010 by husband-and-wife team James and Laura Stokes, is now gearing up for further growth with improvements to the customer experience and the company’s processes.
Coach Hire Comparison, which is based in Shirland, Derbyshire, currently works with 160 independent coach and minibus operators throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Operators pay a monthly fee to be listed on the website.
James said the company has seen a spike in demand for quote requests across a wide range of travel sectors, including corporate, school trips, family holidays, hen and stag parties, weddings, pop festivals, theme park outings and airport transfers.
He said: “The period between April and September this year was the busiest in our history. We put this down to the fact that the travel market has bounced back and also to the great rebrand we undertook in 2020 to mark our first 10 years in business, alongside our constant investment to improve our processes and website functions.
“We are currently working with 160 operators nationwide, but there is still huge untapped potential for the business.
“Thousands more independent minibus and coach hire companies have begun, or will soon be, cranking up their operations as the pandemic hopefully wanes.”
James said demand for price comparisons in the corporate sector has soared as employees resume travelling to company meetings, conferences and training courses at offices around the country.
“Video conferencing has become a bit boring and people are eager to get back to the office and see colleagues face-to-face,” he added.
“Often they don’t want to take the train, so they are opting to hire minibuses and coaches instead.
“We’ve also seen an upsurge in quote requests for hen and stag parties, and the average group size has increased. People want to be out enjoying themselves with their friends again after having to cancel events over the past 18 months or so.
“Similarly, weddings are proving extremely popular now they are happening again following all the cancellations and disruption we’ve seen during the crisis.
“Pop festivals such as those at Reading and Leeds have also driven demand for price comparisons, as has the resumption of school trips and race day outings.
“Staycations meant very strong demand for coaches and minibuses during the summer holidays as family groups went away in the UK. Now, with the easing of restrictions on foreign travel, we are also seeing a big rise in airport quotes.
“People are keen to enjoy life again as a result of the vaccination programmes. They have the confidence to travel once more, and there’s a lot of pent-up demand.”
James added: “We are proud that we have carried on in business throughout the pandemic and are now looking to drive growth through the introduction of new technology and website features as well as increasing the number of operators with whom we work.
“We expect the upward trend to carry on for the rest of 2021 and for 2022 to be our busiest year ever.”