For Hotelbeds, the Spanish-based bedbank specializing in negotiating special rates with accommodation providers, the current travel picture remains rosy—and with no apparent end in sight.
According to Carlos Muñoz, general director of the consortium, who spoke May 14 at the firm’s sixth annual MarketHub Americas forum during a gathering of providers and wholesalers at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace, Hotelbeds has shown an astronomical growth in both North and South America during the last year. Muñoz expects Hotelbeds to double its output in the Americas by 2019. Growth of approximately 30 percent is estimated for 2015, with particular focus on further expansion in the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Argentina.
Hotelbeds began 13 years ago in Spain as a modest operation and was acquired in 2007 by the accommodations and destinations sector of TUI Travel, the British international leisure travel company. Presently Hotelbeds is the top performing global business-to-business bedbank, with an online database consisting of more than 60,000 hotels in 180 countries. Last year the company sold 18 million room nights while outperforming the market with an astronomical 20 percent growth, resulting in total transaction values of nearly $2.5 billion.
Earlier this year Hotelbeds launched “Activities,” a brand, which includes transfers and activities. Paul Anthony, managing director, discussed the growth of mobile technology usage when booking travel services and announced that Hotelbeds plans to launch a mobile website offering travelers the ability to book activities on the go. Sales and marketing deputy managing director, Marta Alvarez, said: “We are achieving even greater global growth rates in room night sales this year, with a 21 percent growth in the year-to-date. However, we must keep working as hard as we always do in collaboration with our partners and clients in order to maintain this growth in the following years.”
Travel specialists during the MarketHub received a briefing on Hotelbeds newly unveiled payment model dubbed “Liberate.” According to sources, the payment model is specially designed to allow clients to offer final customers the option of paying directly at the hotel, a choice previously offered only to larger online travel agents (OTA).
Gary Selesner, regional president of Caesars Entertainment, (parent company of Caesars, Nobu, Planet Hollywood, Paris, Bally’s Flamingo, Harrah’s Rio and The Quad and the newly unveiled Cromwell, which labels itself as the only boutique hotel in Las Vegas), said that Hotelbeds is a “strategic partner to Caesars Entertainment and essential to its growth, which showed a increase of 110 percent during the last year.”
Cyd M. Pastrana, sales manager of international sales for Disney Destinations, agrees, saying that Hotelbeds “is a great asset for booking guests to our properties which include California’s Disneyland, the Aulani in Hawaii and Disney World in Orlando.” And Roberto Recinos, manager of leisure sales and marketing for MGM Resorts International, claims that MGM’s popularity is “the result of listening to what clients want. Hotelbeds has played an important role in having guests provide feedback regarding our operations.”
The two-day Las Vegas event, Hotelbeds’ third annual gathering of its kind, brought together key tourism executives and 80 participating exhibitors. MarketHub Americas’ sessions highlighted travel trends and key developments in the industry, and was attended by more than 600 travel specialists. According to Muñoz, the most important point of MarketHub is “that we must nurture our relationship with our travel professional partners since they are the lifeblood of our existence as a business entity.”