Change of management team at Hotelbeds. The largest bed bank in the world, with 75,000 hotels as clients and whose headquarters are in Palma de Mallorca, announced yesterday a change in strategy. Joan Vilà, executive president of the firm and founder of the bed bank, takes a step to the side and will leave the executive functions as of next June. “This decision does not mean that I am walking away. I will continue to be a shareholder, I will be a non-executive director and I will work hand in hand with the new CEO ”, he said in a digital meeting with the media.
Vilá assured that the decision had been made by 2020, but that the outbreak of the coronavirus forced him to focus on helping the company survive in an environment as complex as the health crisis that began in March 2020. Hotelbeds, which had a turnover of 6,000 million before the pandemic and operated in 180 different countries, it is owned by Cinven and CCPIB funds that bought it from TUI in 2016 for 1,165 million euros.
The impact of the coronavirus crisis, with an unprecedented drop in revenue over such a continuous period, has led both shareholders to inject 775 million to try to weather the crisis in the last twelve months. “The reserves disappeared, the business has become domestic, we invoice more in this segment than in 2019, but the long-haul segment has disappeared. There are hardly any transoceanic trips of Asians and Americans and it will take time to return. The recovery will not be before 2023, but the latent demand is there. In countries such as the United States, Mexico, the Emirates, with higher levels of vaccination and openness than in Europe, hotels are with good occupancy levels and at good prices ”.
He brings to Hotelbeds extensive experience in the leadership of technology and digital companies
Vilà is replaced by Nicolas Huss, former CEO of Ingenico and Visa Europe. “He brings to Hotelbeds extensive experience in the leadership of technology and digital companies, as well as a track record in promoting organic growth,” stressed Vilà. “Together with the management team, we are really well positioned to continue offering growth together with our valued hotel partners and customers,” stressed Huss, who for now ruled out increasing the size of the company by buying rivals, as he did with the purchase of GTA, focused on the distribution business in Asia-Pacific, or Tourico, with a very extensive network in the US.
Asked about the recovery of the Hotelbeds income statement after the coronavirus cataclysm, Vilà assured that it will return to profits in 2022 and that it will return to the pre-covid billing level in 2023. “Our future depends largely on political decisions. Every time a government has opened the possibility of travel, we have seen advance boats of reservations. And on the contrary, avalanches of cancellations. Although the tourism sector has suffered greatly in recent months, customers have saved exponentially in that period. And that has generated capital that will become a boom in last-minute reserves the day the restrictions are lifted in a coordinated manner.