Skift Take

This is just the latest in a long string of similar moves from BCD Travel. Expect more mergers and acquisitions to follow, especially in Africa and the Middle East.

BCD Travel continues its global expansion, partnering with midsized travel management companies as a way to dominate new markets.

The company announced Monday that its joint venture partner in South Africa, Connex Travel, is merging with Rennies Travel, one of the leading travel management companies in South Africa. In January, BCD Travel announced that Rennies Travel joined the BCD Travel Global Network.

“We’re joining forces in a competitive business travel market that’s growing fast,” said Adrian Woodward, vice president of BCD Travel’s Global Network for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “Our combined depth of experience and partnership will not only give us a stronger position in the African market, but also offers our mutual clients market-relevant solutions and services.”

The new agency, called Rennies BCD Travel, will have over 700 employees, and offices in nine cities across South Africa. It will also have an office in Windoek, Namibia. The current CEO of Rennies Travel, Bronwyn Philipps, will continue as CEO of the merged agency. Meanwhile, Connex Travel CEO Mark Cristofoli will remain a member of the senior leadership team once the companies merge.

“While our keen focus on client service will continue ‘as usual,’ we look forward to putting the innovative technology and global data consolidation expertise of BCD Travel in the hands of our clients,” said Philipps.

“This merger enables us to benefit from Rennies’ sizable presence in Southern Africa, allowing us to expand our footprint beyond the South African market,” added Cristofoli.

This move is part of an ongoing pattern for BCD Travel, which is based in the Netherlands. In July, the company took majority ownership of Hitachi Travel Bureau, one of Japan’s top travel agencies, as a way to push further into Japan and China. Like with the Rennies Travel merger, BCD Travel chose to keep the president of Hitachi Travel, Kazuhiko Otani, in his role.

By snapping up smaller travel management companies in markets where it feels its presence is lacking, and keeping much of the original leadership in place, BCD Travel believes it can more quickly navigate new regions around the globe.

In August, the company acquired Milwaukee-based Adelman Travel, increasing its presence in North America. In the past several years, BCD has claimed majority stake or full ownership in travel operations in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Poland, and Colombia.


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Tags: bcd travel, south africa, travel management companies

Photo credit: Trains pass under the Mandela bridge in Johannesburg, South Africa. Media Club / Flickr

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