A better value proposition that leverages technology and the synergies from its recent acquisitions is what Hotelbeds expects to offer to its clients in a “competitive” and “fragmented” market, said managing director Carlos Muñoz.
Speaking to TTG Asia in an interview on the sidelines of its inaugural MarketHub Asia event, which took place in Bangkok earlier this week, Muñoz said: “There are many (bedbank) players like us in the market. We are the biggest player but we are only taking up about seven to eight per cent of the market share (prior to Tourico and GTA acquisitions).
Muñoz at MarketHub Asia event
“The B2B wholesale accommodation space is still very fragmented, while the OTA market is dominated by two big players (Expedia and Priceline). Our aim is to better support our tour operator and OTAs customers to succeed in this environment against the big OTAs, and if we’re fragmented it’s much more difficult to compete against them.”
The acquisitions of Tourico Holidays and GTA will enable Hotelbeds to take the best practices from each and combine them into “one single platform”, according to Muñoz. “The point (of the acquisitions) is not about getting market share, it’s about creating the conditions to provide more value proposition to our clients and help them face the challenges in the marketplace,” he elaborated.
While Muñoz feels that Hotelbeds has built up a strong global footprint – with Tourico a strong player in the US, and GTA in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Europe – he concedes that India still leaves room for further growth and is a market the company will focus on. China, on the other hand, is where Hotelbeds and GTA already have significant presence, he revealed.
When asked if a bigger Hotelbeds will curtail its responsiveness to the market, Muñoz feels it’s the contrary. “Being small is not an advantage in this business, because you need the size to be able to invest in the best technology, products and contracts… we were missing some size (earlier).”
Hotelbeds’ ownership change last year from TUI to two private equity companies Cinven and CPPIB has also given it “access to capital”, including opportunities in inorganic growth, which would enable it to pursue further organic growth, said Muñoz. Also, he does not rule out further acquisitions for Hotelbeds.