Online travel platform HalalBooking protects ₤ 1.6 mln UK government-backed coronavirus loan|Salaam Gateway

LONDON – UK-based HalalBooking has actually protected a ₤ 1.6 million ($ 2 million) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBILS), a UK-government-backed center for little and medium sized business (SMEs) to deal with the financial interruption from the crisis.

“This loan is purely a short-term measure to ensure that we are fully prepared, even in the worst case scenario, over the next few months,”Elnur Seyidli, CEO of HalalBooking informed Salaam Gateway.

He stated the factor for taking the loan now is to guarantee business is prepared, even if travel does not return in 2020.

“It should not be necessary for us to seek further financial support at this time,” he stated. “We might do a Series B financing round later in the year or next year but this would be for the purpose of our growth acceleration post-Coronavirus.”

The business raised $ 2.5 million in Series A financing in December.

The CBILS plan enables impacted SMEs to request moneying approximately ₤ 5 million from a taking part loan provider. HalalBooking acquired the loan from HSBC. The UK federal government warranties 80% of the financing to the loan provider and pays interest and any charges for the very first 12 months. The primary eligibility requirements to request the plan, are that business needs to be UK-based and have a yearly turnover of approximately ₤45 million.

Seyidli described that the application included the bank evaluating HalalBooking’s most current accounts. The Muslim- friendly travel platform likewise needed to prepare a five-year organisation strategy considering 3 various situations in regards to forecasted sales and revealing anticipated expenses for staffing and other expenditures.


All reservations for April and May have actually needed to be cancelled and the online travel representative has actually gotten really couple of reservations given that mid-March

The organisation has actually lost a minimum of 2-3 months of sales, according toSeyidli He warned that if travel constraints continue then more reservations will need to be cancelled.

“We do have a small number of bookings being made for later in the year,” he stated.

“It is understandable that whilst we are in complete lockdown, most people will be reluctant to book, however, we do expect that bookings will increase once lockdown is eased and flight restrictions start to be lifted.”

Depending on when travel constraints end, he approximates HalalBooking will lose around 40% to 80% of reservations compared to 2019.

However, he caveated this by stating since of the business’s 100% development trajectory prior to the pandemic it anticipates to surpass its 2019 sales level in 2021 and continue development.

“We hope that sales will resume quickly and have been working hard to extend our portfolio, doubling the number of properties which are available,” stated Seyidli.


“One of the measures we have taken is to increase the number of properties offering ‘free cancellation’ rates, meaning that anyone booking now has complete flexibility to cancel their booking without charge if they decide nearer the time that they don’t wish to travel.”


As part of the UK pandemic technique, SMEs can likewise request the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where the federal government will cover 80% of furloughed personnel’s earnings approximately ₤ 2,500 each month.

“We have been able to place a number of non-essential staff on the furlough scheme,” statedSeyidli “This means that they will be able to return to work with us as soon as travel restrictions are lifted and bookings resume.”

He stated that some personnel have actually decreased working hours while others are still working full-time to guarantee that clients, who require to make modifications or cancel their reservations, are taken care of.

“We currently have no plans to let go of staff, but, of course, we cannot rule this out completely as it depends hugely on the length of the travel restrictions and the continuation of government support schemes,” stated the CEO.


Looking ahead, Seyidli stated outlook for healing is favorable.

“We have a very loyal customer base with more than 120,000 customers and we expect that once flight restrictions have been lifted, bookings will start to come in quickly,” he stated.

“Over recent years, we have invested heavily in new customer acquisition and partnerships with partners such as Turkish Airlines, MuslimPro, Kuveyt Turk Bank and Mastercard, which will also help our recovery.”

He included that the business is likewise settling a job which will enable it to increase its existing home portfolio from 1,750 to more than 4,000 by the end of May.

Some locations in Turkey, for instance, revealed procedures to license hotels which adjust their centers and services for prospective social distancing requirements.

As an outcome HalalBooking will motivate its most popular resorts and hotels to guarantee that they adhere to regional guidelines.

Seyidli likewise prepares for there will be a boost in need for vacation home lodging, permitting households total personal privacy and the flexibility to keep their range from others.

“We expect that smaller and boutique hotels may become more popular for the same reason,” he stated.

“We are expecting that the first phase of travel is likely to be resuming domestic travel, so we are working hard to increase the number of resorts and suitable accommodation in our main source markets i.e. Germany, the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey.”

(Reporting by Hassan Jivraj; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim

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