Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Generator Hostels’ Forecasts 50% Jump in Earnings as Budget Travelers Seek Deals

5 months ago

Generator Group, which owns or runs 21 hotels, gave a financial update on Monday that underscored the post-pandemic boom in travel.

London-based Generator Group forecasted that it’s on track to produce revenues of about $238 million (€225 million) this year — which would represent a 25% jump over the company’s revenue in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

The privately held company anticipates this year it will produce earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization of about $80 million (€75 million). That would represent a 50% jump in earnings compared with 2019 — highlighting strong pricing power in so-called “compression,” or high-demand, markets.

PE-Backed Hostels

Private equity firm Queensgate Investments bought Generator for $480 million (€450 million) in 2017, and the group’s flagship brand is Generator, a set of premium economy hostels. Queensgate spent about $400 million in 2019 to acquire Freehand Hotels, which operates properties in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami, and folded that into the group.

Generator said it has nearly 12,000 beds in ten countries. It told the Financial Times, “in the next year, it is planning to launch 10 more sites worldwide under an asset-light model where it does not own the long-term lease, including a new hostel in Bangkok.”

Queensgate is a part or whole owner of nine Generator-run properties. Generator also acts as a management company for other hostels.

For more context on Generator’s strategy, watch the interview with its CEO from last year’s Skift Global Forum East (below) or read Skift’s piece Generator’s Takeover of Paramount Hotel in Times Square Is Part of Broader Hostel Reboot.

Travel Technology

Hotelbeds Touts New General Counsel’s IPO Experience

7 months ago

Hotelbeds, which reportedly hired bankers a couple of months ago to ready an initial public offering, has appointed a new general counsel, and the hotel wholesaler touted her experience in compliance and taking companies public.

Source: Hotelbeds

Sagrario Fernández, who now leads Hotelbeds’ legal and compliance teams, “brings a wealth of experience in IPO processes gained at private security services firm Prosegur Cash and Indra, a Spain-based IT and defence systems company, as well as in M&A and capital markets transactions,” the Hotelbeds announcement stated.

Fernández most recently was general counsel at Dia Group, a publicly traded Spain-based food chain with more than 30,000 employees.

Palma, Spain-headquartered Hotelbeds, which offers wholesale hotel rooms to tour operators, travel agents and airlines, was acquired by private equity firm Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board from TUI Group in 2016 for 1.17 billion euros. Its valuation is said to currently be in the range of $4.9 billion to $6 billion (4.5 billion and 5.5 billion euros), according to the publication Expansion.

The company offers hotels from some 1995 destinations, and has more than 3,000 employees.

“Sagrario will play a key role in leading our strategic initiatives and will take Hotelbeds to new heights,” said Hotelbeds CEO Nicolas Huss said in a statement. “We are confident that, thanks to her extensive knowledge and experience, she will further strengthen our position as a leader in the global travel industry.”

Perhaps Fernández is another piece in Hotelbeds’ IPO considerations.

Hotels

Certares Closes $284 Million Fund for Hospitality Real Estate

7 months ago

Certares, a private equity firm that invests in travel, said on Wednesday it had closed its first real estate hospitality fund, with $284 million of equity commitments.

The fund is acquiring hospitality real estate assets in U.S. growth markets. It has already made investments in 10 hotels that together have more than 2,100 keys.

The New York-based investments specialist has invested heavily in travel companies — most prominently American Express Global Business Travel, car rental brand Hertz, the airline Azul, and Liberty Tripadvisor Holdings.

“A targeted real estate strategy is a natural extension of our experience in travel and hospitality,” said Greg O’Hara, founder and senior managing director at Certares.

The 10 hotels that Certares has made investments in include:

  • AC Hotel Santa Rosa Sonoma Wine Country
  • Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Cape Cod
  • Courtyard San Diego Downtown
  • EAST Miami in downtown Miami
  • Ashore Resort & Beach Club in Ocean City, Maryland
  • Doubletree Suites Doheny Beach in Dana Point, California
  • Embassy Suites Midtown Atlanta
  • Hilton San Antonio Hill Country
  • Le Meridien Tampa
  • The ARC Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The fund’s operators can take advantage of Certares’ leisure and business travel distribution assets, which it said “enhance demand and provide market intelligence for the hotels.”

The fund has an active pipeline of new investments, said Nolan Hecht, senior managing director and head of real estate at Certares, in a statement. Hecht previously oversaw hotel investment and asset management at Square Mile Capital Management.

Travel Technology

Private Equity-Backed Cendyn Names New CEO to Lead Hotel Tech Company

1 year ago

Cendyn, a software company that offers customer relationship management, digital marketing, and operations tools to hotels, has hired a new chief executive. 

The company said Monday that Jack Blaha has taken the role for the Florida-based company. He replaces Tim Sullivan, who had started as CEO in June 2020, a year after the company gained new ownership.

Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm based in Silicon Valley, became the majority owner of Cendyn in June 2019 through an undisclosed investment. 

Cendyn acquired Rainmaker, a hotel revenue management service, shortly after with that financial support. It acquired NextGuest, a long-time rival, in February 2021. Cendyn also in the last year merged with Pegasus, a central reservation system that had merged in 2019 with Travel Tripper with backing from Accel-KKR

And Cendyn acquired DigitalHotelier last year to expand its distribution and eCommerce capabilities. 

In addition to those business deals over the past couple of years, Cendyn said it has expanded in India and Asia Pacific. Cendyn said it has tens of thousands of customers in 143 countries

Blaha has previously worked for tech companies including Khoros, Lone Wolf Technologies, PeopleAdmin, and Aptean.

Cendyn said that Blaha will lead plans for continued strategic growth as hotels, resorts, and casinos invest in integrated technology and digitization.

Short-Term Rentals

Awaze Put Up For Sale at $2 Billion by Private Equity Owner Platinum — Report

1 year ago

The owner of European vacation-rentals business Awaze is looking for a sale, according to a media report.

U.S. private equity firm Platinum Equity created Awaze after buying a selection of rental businesses from Wyndham Worldwide in 2018. The deal was worth $1.3 billion, and its collection at the time included Novasol, Cottages.com, James Villa Holidays and Landal GreenParks.

Now Sky News has reported that Platinum Equity has appointed Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to oversee a strategic review of Awaze — with a price tag of up to $2.14 billion. A sale is being sought within the next 12 months. However, in June another report suggested a sale could take place by the end of this year.

Awaze itself has been buying up other players. In 2021 it bought Bornholmtours, Amberley House and Portscatho Holidays, Quality Cottages and Quality Unearthed.

Awaze CEO Henrik Kjellberg said bookings were “holding up well over winter both in terms of volume and price,” in a Financial Times report on Monday. “Even in the event of a recession, I expect the travel industry will still perform well”.

With Airbnb among the potential suitors for the Wyndham rental brands back in 2017, could it now return to the table as the short-term rental market recovers afters the pandemic?