Blue Bay Travel, a UK-based online travel agent specializing in long-haul holidays to the Caribbean, Mexico and Indian Ocean, secured £6.5m in equity funding.
Mid-market private equity firm LDC made the minority investment. As part of the deal, LDC Investment Director David Andrews joined Blue Bay Travel’s board alongside independent non-executive Lawrence Dean, and travel industry veteran Andrew Gardner as non-executive Chairman.
Founded in 2003 by Stuart and Angela Wilson, Blue Bay Travel operates under several specialist brands – including Caribbean Warehouse, specializing in destinations such as Mexico, Dominican Republic, Barbados and Saint Lucia – and Tropical Warehouse, focusing on the Indian Ocean and Far East.
The business currently provides holidays to more than 16,500 passengers per year – with a 31% increase in bookings in 2016.
The company intends to use the funds to accelerate growth by investing in its proprietary price comparison technology and online booking platform, expanding its 60 people team of travel experts, adding more homeworkers to the sales team – and launching new, innovative products. This will include new facilities for online-only booking, new collaborations with travel operators for direct sales solutions and a white label website framework called Orcastra, plus expansion to new countries and destinations.
In 2017, Blue Bay Travel will launch Xclusivity, providing luxury breaks to carefully selected long-haul and short-haul destinations.