Skift Take

Although Hotelbeds still sells ancillaries, its main focus is on accommodations and the rebrand makes that clear.

Accommodations wholesaler Hotelbeds Group is phasing out its Tourico Holidays and GTA brands as it goes forward under a new identity.

Since coming under the ownership of private equity firm Cinven and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, the company has gone through something of an acquisition spree picking up two of its biggest rivals in as many years.

But as part of a wider brand refresh, Hotelbeds will drop the “Group” from its name and kill off both GTA and Tourico Holidays over the coming months.

When the rebrand is complete, the company will use Hotelbeds for most of its business, with Bedsonline used exclusively for traditional retail travel agents.

Although it recently sold its destination management division to TUI, it still sources and distributes some ancillary products, such as transfers, excursions, tickets, theme parks, car hire, and other in-destination activities. After the rebrand, it will do this under a product line called Beyond the Bed.

Hotelbeds is a business-to-business wholesaler, supplying accommodations to travel agents, tour operators, and airlines across the world. In Europe this type of business is known as a bedbank. It currently has more than 170,000 hotels, 24,000 transfer routes and 18,000 activities on its books.

Joan Vilà, executive chairman of Hotelbeds said the changes reflected the renewed focus of the company following the string of recent deals.

“This is a really straightforward business now with the three companies that we are putting together and we wanted to reflect what we are,” Vilà told Skift.

“Now with this change the bedbank business and the group business will have the same brand, which I think simplifies the whole thing.”

Hotelbeds still has some work to do integrating the acquired brands, both on the technological side as well as with supplier contracts, which Vilà said is a “massive piece of work.”

Having bought two of his biggest rivals, Vilà doesn’t think Hotelbeds needs to do any more deals but will continue to look at the market for opportunities.

“We have sufficient scale we don’t need any more acquisitions. We are also now in an integration [phase], which is very intensive but at the same time we always have to look at the market if there are opportunities,” he said.

Earlier this year, Hotelbeds consolidated its travel agency business under the Bedsonline brand.

Towards an IPO?

Cinven and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board paid $1.3 billion for Hotelbeds in 2016 and at some stage will be looking to cash out. The company is bigger than the one they bought, so they will no doubt be looking for a substantial increase on their initial outlay.

Vilà said Hotelbeds had grown in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions, which now account for a third of all business.

“From their [the shareholders’] point-of-view we are a perfect business for an IPO because we are global we are in a combination of two segments—data and travel—that are very well considered in the market.”

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Tags: b2b, hotelbeds

Photo credit: The new Hotelbeds brand identity. the company has dropped the "Group" part of its name. Hotelbeds

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