A Post-Acquisition Follow-up … More Downsizing at Hotelbeds: One wonders, at times, just when the post-integration era will finally finish. It was during the first four months of 2017 that Hotelbeds (it is owned by UK-based private equity firm Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) acquired both Tourico Holidays and GTA, making it the indisputable Number 1 bedbank in the world, with 180,000 hotel partners. But it took much of 2017 to officially complete the takeover and much of 2018 to align the three units into one working model. Of late, Hotelbeds had some good news for its investors, announcing that its target is to lower the “cost-per-room-night” from its current €6.30 level to €4.90 by year-end 2021. “This level of efficiency,” it said, “is achievable as the stand-alone Hotelbeds business in 2016, prior to integration, was already achieving a €5.40 cost-per-room-night without the scale and expertise of the newly combined company.” However, Hotelbeds explained in a news release, “as part of this post-integration, optimization plan, Hotelbeds has today (Nov. 13) informed staff that there will be some departures, representing a reduction in the global workforce by about 5 percent. This will take place in stages over the next 12 months resulting in the scaling down of hubs in Tel Aviv, London, Dubai, Orlando and Zurich.”
The shakeout in the European tour operator industry continues in the wake of, and largely because of, the September 23 collapse of the tour operator Thomas Cook. Of late, the Turkish company, Anex Group, is acquiring the Thomas Cook Germany subsidiaries Bucher Reisen & Öger Tours, which already has a large presence in Germany. The acquisition will make the Turkish company, which operates in Germany under its Anex Tour brand—a major player in Germany. Also, the Anex Group is acquiring another Thomas Cook-owned brand, the Russian company Intourist. According to the Turkish newspaper Sabah, Neşet Koçkar, who also owns Turkish tour operator Anex, was quoted as saying: “Once we have recapitalized and restructured Intourist, we intend to share Intourist with the Russian people through an IPO to celebrate its glorious comeback.” With the acquisitions, reported Sabah, Anex Tour will become the second-largest tour operator in the world after Germany’s TUI.
Travelopia has sold its North American Experience Education (NAEE) brands to WorldStrides for an undisclosed sum. The sale includes World Class Vacations and Brightspark US, serving the U.S. educational market, and Brightspark Canada, Jumpstreet and Educatours in Canada. Andy Duncan, CEO of Travelopia, who became CEO of the company in April 2018, had previously indicated that Travelopia, which was previously TUI‘s specialist holiday division before being sold to the global private equity firm KKR last year for £325 million, wanted to be left with just 10 brands, down from more than 50, within a year. Said Duncan, “Our strategy under KKR ownership is to become the world’s best experiential travel company by focusing on a select number of brands in the Travelopia Group and the sale of these brands is a further step forward towards this ambition.”
Wowcher, the second largest British e-commerce marketplace active in the UK and Ireland, has purchased the Super Break brand from administrators KPMG for an undisclosed sum. Super Break went into administration (bankruptcy) August 1, along with parent company Malvern Group and sister brand Laterooms.com. Initially the Super Break domain name online will redirect users to Wowcher’s website. Wowcher said it bought the name because of the close alignment between the product ranges of the two brands. Explained Paul Constable, Wowcher’s general manager for travel: “There was a large synergy in terms of products between Super Break and Wowcher, and we see this as an opportunity to increase our market share and support our growth plans for travel. We have not finalized our long-term plans.”