IBS Software has taken a $90 million step toward its goal of becoming a "player of consequence" in hotel tech. It joins a group of others vying for the same.
IBS Software is expanding its presence in the hotel tech sector with the acquisition of Above Property Services for $90 million.
India-based IBS Software provides tech for the global aviation, tours, cruise, energy, cargo, and hospitality industries. For the hotel industry, that includes a booking engine and distribution platform for 36,000 properties. The company has 4,000 employees, with roughly 120 for the hotel business.
Founded in 2012, Above Property Services offers cloud-based management systems for hotels, specializing in those with large footprints, such as chains, resorts, and properties with restaurants and casinos.
The suite of products includes three major hotel tech systems: central reservation system (which manages room inventory and rates), property management system (which handles hotel operations), and a revenue management system (which aligns price with demand changes).
The acquisition means that IBS Software can now offer a full suite of products to manage a hotel company’s major operations — not common in the hotel tech industry.
It gives IBS the opportunity to to be a “player of consequence” in hotel tech, said Steffan Berelowitz, head of the hospitality business at IBS Software, in an interview with Skift.
“For the first time really in quite a number of years, maybe even a few decades, there is now a new major global player with significant resources in terms of people, capital, and now expanded technology,” Berelowitz said. “And there’ll be another major choice for hotel groups.”
IBS Software took a $450 million investment from British private equity firm Apax Partners last year for a minority stake in the company.
Above Property Services has been growing quickly as hotels modernize post-pandemic. That growth included three recent deals with two UK-based hotel chains and an agency specializing in sports group travel, according to Aaron Shepherd, founder and CEO of Above Property Services. Other clients have included Motel 6, and Great Wolf Lodge, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Above Property has only 24 employees. So those three recent deals on top of existing business meant the company would have to either raise a large amount of venture capital — as Mews and Cloudbeds have — or they would have to find a buyer.
With the acquisition by IBS, Above Property says it now has the resources to expand. Shepherd will continue to lead the systems he founded as an IBS employee. He and his employees will remain at their office in Naples, Florida.
“It’s an immediate shot in the arm for us,” Shepherd said. “We’ve got the scale to take on really any size of opportunity that comes along.”
Room for Growth
Next steps for IBS include bringing the new products to existing customers, Berelowitz said, and expanding to new clients.
Shepherd believes there’s enough opportunity for everyone since much of the industry is still lagging behind technologically.
He said the business plans to focus on gaining clients that are decades behind in upgrades. Many of his company’s competitors have been focused on independent hotels, he added, while his company has been focused on enterprise clients.
“There’s a big opportunity to allow them to digitally upgrade their offering and to not have to modify their business practices to do so,” Shepherd said. “We can do these migrations very much so in a thoughtful and low-risk way. And that’s exactly what we did in a lot of our implementations already.”
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Photo credit: Motel 6 is a client of Above Property Services. Pictured: Studio 6 Mesquite in Texas. G6 Hospitality