- Özgür Töre
In 2019, HalalBooking recorded record sales of $33 million US dollars, up from $21 million in the previous year, setting it well on track to record an exponential 2x rate of growth in 2020.
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent worldwide lockdown, however, HalalBooking, like all travel companies, was badly hit, recording almost no sales in the period from March to June and dealing with a huge volume of cancelled and postponed trips. Unlike most travel companies, however, HalalBooking has bounced back quickly, achieving an astonishing feat by fully recovering its sales for August 2020, in comparison with the previous year. The company is now aiming to return to 2x growth rate by the end of the year.
HalalBooking CEO Elnur Seyidli said: “I always had complete confidence that HalalBooking would return to growth quickly, as our services for halal-friendly travel fulfil a genuine need for halal-conscious travelers worldwide. In August 2020 our sales increased to $2.7 million, as compared to $2.6 million in the previous year.”
He continued: “I believe that this also demonstrates the huge amount of trust which our customers have in HalalBooking. We worked hard to maintain that trust throughout extremely challenging circumstances during the Covid outbreak. Our customer services team worked hard to deal fairly and efficiently with customers, whose travel plans had been disrupted. We adapted quickly, adding thousands of new hotels and villas in European locations, for those customers who wanted to stay closer to home, and bringing in an increased number of different payment options to offer increased flexibility to our customers including ‘pay later’ and ‘free cancellation’ options.”
Seyidli recently presented HalalBooking’s tech innovations at Europe’s top travel sector conference, Phocuswright Europe, and HalalBooking was awarded the most innovative travel ‘scale-up’ - a company with the technology to scale up to a $1 billion target.
This month, travel sector heavyweight, Hichame Assi, joins HalalBooking’s board as a non-executive director. Assi is a former CEO of HotelsCombined.com and MD APAC of Kayak, which are part of Booking Holdings.
Seyidli explained HalalBooking’s plans for the future: “This fast recovery means that we are now in a great position to scale up our online platform both in terms of supply and customer acquisition. We intend to expand beyond the European markets, where we are already strong, and to really speed things up. We recently took the decision to super-accelerate our growth and reach our $1 billion valuation target by 2024. We have a successful business model - now tried and tested against the worst case scenario of a global pandemic - and I don’t want to waste any time, so this week I am launching a drive to raise $20 million in venture capital in a Series-B round. This is an exciting step forward as to date the only relatively small funding we have received was $2 million, at the end of 2019, from a few angel investors.”