Hotelbeds Wants To End The Online Agency Duopoly
5 October 2017 – Expansión
The Mallorcan firm Hotelbeds wants to take on the titans of the world of online agencies and break the de facto duopoly, which is effectively dominated by Expedia and Priceline, the parent company of Booking. The company, controlled by the private equity firm Cinven and the fund Canada Pension Plan Investment (CPPI), owns the largest bedbank in the world and after its purchase of Tourico and GTA, is constituting itself as a “clear alternative” to connect hotels and intermediaries, explains Joan Vilà, the Chief Executive of Hotelbeds Group, speaking to Expansión.
“We have undertaken these acquisitions in record time and have almost doubled our size with the purchase of GTA and Tourico. We were already market leaders in terms of our bedbank and our new size puts us in the Champions League of major companies around the world”, says Vilà.
Cinven and CPPI acquired their stakes in the company a year and a half ago, after reaching an agreement with the German group TUI for almost €1,200 million. Since then, the firm has acquired Tourico – based in Orlando and Tel Aviv – and GTA – the commercial name for the Kuoni Group’s travel business, in which the fund EQT owned a stake – for a combined value of €1,300 million.
These acquisitions will allow the group to double in size, with an annual turnover of €7,000 million and a total workforce of 8,300 employees, of which 5,300 belong to the Bedbank division.
For Vilà, the scale of the integrated group will allow the controlled hotels to gain more autonomy. Currently, Hotelbeds works with 100,000 hotels and 64,000 intermediaries (travel agents, tour operators and airlines).
Following these operations, the company is now working on its integration plan, which it expects to complete over the next 18 months. “We have decided to use the Hotelbeds platform. Within 18 months we will be working as a single company”.
In terms of strengthening the company’s inorganic growth, Vilà explained that, although he does not rule out making new purchases, the company is focused on the integration process for the time being. The group has not yet decided whether it will work under a single brand. “In the B2B business, the presence of the brand is very important and all three are very well-known”.
In terms of the leadership team, Joan Vilà will continue in his role as the CEO, with Carlos Muñoz as the Director General of Bedbank and responsible for managing the integration of the three businesses, and Andrés García responsible for the financial area of the resulting group. Moreover, Hotelbeds has announced the appointment of José Antonio Tazón as a senior non-executive director on the Board of Directors and as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake