On the weekend that IPW opened in Denver, Hotelbeds issued a report showing that the company that used to belong to TUI before it was acquired two years ago by the London-based private equity group Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in 2016 for €1.65 billion ($1.92 billion) has grown strong enough that it could be a candidate for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to investors.
Hotelbeds’ executive chairman Joan Vilà told Travel Weekly UK that the company’s focus was on growing its business and completing the integration of GTA and Tourico Holidays—two companies that it acquired in the first half of last year—current shareholders are likely to seek a return on their investment, and announcement of an intention to float could be an option.
“In three years they may like to sell. I think we are a perfect business for an IPO (Initial Public Offering of shares). I think there’s a big chance that this might happen,” he said, adding that, despite Hotelbeds’ considerable scale, it still had significant scope to grow organically as it only has around a 14 percent market share. As market leader it will grow faster than its rivals and be able to take more market share, Vilà told TW.
Asked by the publication if he saw Hotelbeds driving further consolidation in the industry, he replied, “At this moment in time our priority is clearly on the integration because our teams really want to be working in the new organization. We will be looking at similar companies to ours with B2B distribution and also some companies that are complementary to us.”
While Vila was making waves with remarks from the company’s headquarters in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, the company also issued a news released timed to the opening of IPW in Denver, boasting of its “success story in the United States.”
“As a source market the United States has now become the group’s second largest market worldwide for hotel bookings in the wholesale channel, up from third place and overtaking Spain in the last year,” the statement said, adding that Hotelbeds “has continued its success in increasing inbound sales of hotel reservations of the United States as a destination. This has been achieved via leveraging the Group’s leading position as the largest B2B bedbank globally.”
It noted, for example, “in the 2017 calendar year the Group’s room nights for Chinese travelers into the U.S. market represented 2.3 percent of all Chinese inbound hotel bookings across the nation.”
Also, the Hotelbed Group’s Great Britain, South America, and the Middle East source markets have increased bookings to Denver by 25 percent, 40 percent, and 40 percent, respectively, during the current financial calendar year.
Said Lauren Volcheff, head of wholesale sales in the Americas at Hotelbeds Group: “We are really thrilled to confirm that the US source market has now become the number two for our Group globally in the wholesale channel, overtaking Spain – with Orlando, New York, Paris, Rome and London occupying the top slots, in descending order. This comes from strong sales growth generated by the addition of new clients, in particular, in the airline and point redemption space.”
With last year’s acquisition of GTA and Tourico, Hotelbeds’ product portfolio has now expanded to over 170,000 hotels and over 60,000 travel-selling clients now use the platform.
Operating mainly under the Hotelbeds, Bedsonline, Tourico Holidays and GTA brands, the company connects over 60,000 travel intermediaries across more than 185 source markets globally with travel providers in over 200 countries representing more than 170,000 hotels, 22,000 transfer routes and 16,000 activities.