Up-for-sale B2B bedbank Hotelbeds has offered a timely reminder to potential buyers about its ability to grow by double-digits in mature market.
Figures released at ITB last week show that its TTV in 2015 grew by 18% in Europe year-on-year, with its performance in Germany even better, growing 26%.
Carlos Munoz, bedbank managing director for Hotelbeds, explained that the business is reaping the rewards from being one of the first B2B bedbanks in the market, investing in technology and contracting directly with the hotels.
“Being one of the earliest players in the market means that we have been able to build up the volumes we can deliver to our hotel partners. When the margins are small you need economies of scale,” he said.
Direct contracting is another area where Munoz sees a competitive advantage. Hotelbeds has 75,000 hotels on its books, not a massive amount compared with some of its peers but “each of these is contracted directly rather than sourced through an aggregator.”
While Europe is its most important source market for hotels and also for supply partners, Munoz noted that the UAE, Singapore and China were emerging as important source markets. “As you know, most Asian travel is within Asia. Our fastest growing destinations include Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Indonesia.”
Technology is a massive focus for Hotelbeds. Late last year it relaunched its entire suite of APIs under the “APItude by Hotelbeds” brand. It has expanded this with the introduction of a CacheAPI, which enables “mass download of rates and availability of rates so that the data can be directly integrated into packages.”
Hotelbeds is owned by TUI Group, which is looking to sell the business. The rumour mill has gone quiet of late. At the end of January “City sources” told the Sunday Times that Sweden’s EQT Partners was planning a £800 million bid for the business.
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