As of Oct. 4, what used to be GTA is now part of Hotelbeds, the largest bedbank in the world. Hotelbeds, owned by the UK-based private equity firm Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), acquired GTA last April. The review of the transaction by appropriate agencies in both the UK and Spain—Hotelbeds is headquartered in Palma de Mallorca, Spain—took months to complete.
The absorption of GTA, which had been part of Kuoni, follows the integration of Tourico Holidays last June. The latter attracted little attention in the international tour and travel industry, which occurred during IPW in Washington, D.C. at the same time. Hotelbeds (Cinven/CPPIB) had announced the purchase of Tourico last February.
Changes and Additions: Publicly, at least, the incorporation does not seem to have caused that much of a disruption in the company’s operations. In an interview with the Mexican travel trade news site, REPORTUR, Hotelbeds Group CEO Joan Vilá said there will be “changes for practically everyone, but not force.”
“We are going to be about 8,300 employees and 20 percent (1,300) will be in Palma,” he added, noting that there will be new hires coming to Palma, which will remain the home base of the company. Other elements of the integration:
—Vilà continues as chief executive of Hotelbeds Group. Carlos Muñoz will serve as general manager of Bedbank with the responsibility of managing the integration of the three businesses.
—The current CFO, Andrés García, will be responsible for the financial area of the resulting group.
—José Antonio Tazón, considered to be the driving force behind Amadeus, is now a senior non-executive director on the board of directors.
Head-to-Head with the Duopoly: Hotelbeds anticipates that it will double its turnover to 7 billion euros ($8.2 billion) per year, and thus face the “big” ones like Expedia, Booking.com and the Priceline Group, reaching 15 percent market share, up from 8 percent earlier. (Booking. Com is part of the Priceline Group. Along with Expedia, the two comprise what hoteliers have disparagingly called a “Duopoly.”)