From 1935 until today
To help the hard-pressed Swiss hotel industry and, at the same time, to allow the average person to have a holiday: This was the idea of Migros’ founder, Gottlieb Duttweiler, when he launched Hotelplan on 29th April 1935. “What we need to do is to try and appeal to new clients who are not in the habit of travelling”, muses Gottlieb Duttweiler. In June, the first special Hotelplan train runs to Lugano. One all-inclusive week costs 65 francs. In the first year alone, a total of 52,648 weeks bookings are sold.
The Corona pandemic again had a massive impact on the Hotelplan Group's business result. Although incoming bookings in the summer months were consistently above 2020 and the Hotelplan Suisse, vtours and Interhome Group business units even recorded higher incoming bookings for weeks than in the pandemic-free year 2019, it was not possible to make up for the loss made in the winter months (November 2020 to April 2021). Even in this challenging period, customers received competent advice and support before, during and after their trip.
The Hotelplan Group also used the time to sharpen its strategy in order to be prepared for the time after the Corona pandemic. A group-wide strategy process resulted in a new strategic orientation. The core themes of excellent customer experience and sustainability will be in focus in the future. Both are key to continuing to operate successfully in the market. Unspoilt nature and an intact environment provide the foundation for stable socio-economic systems and are in the same time indispensable to travel. This is why the Hotelplan Group sees it as an obligation to commit to sustainable tourism. In order to create an excellent customer experience, Hotelplan Group will aim to optimally integrate on- and offline touchpoints with customers – from the first contact, through the booking process and stay at the destination to the return home.
The fallout of the corona crisis had a massive impact on the Hotelplan Group operating result. The pandemic deprived the travel industry of almost its entire commercial basis. Tens of thousands of customers had to be repatriated, travel cancelled and flights rebooked, resulting in the worst financial result in the Swiss travel group’s history. During the crisis, Hotelplan Group proved to be a reliable and fair partner to its customers and delivered superb service around the clock – even amidst constantly changing circumstances. Hotelplan Group issued refunds to its customers as quickly as possible, even though the company often had to wait until a later date for reimbursement by service providers.
Despite the corona pandemic, Hotelplan Group invested in the future and continued to pursue numerous projects. With the specialist brand Travelhouse, Hotelplan Suisse launched a new product line with theme-based travel in Europe, while the two business travel specialists bta first travel and Finass Reisen created added value for their customers with new tools. A new type of offer gives vtours customers even more security and flexibility, and bedfinder added rail package tours to its portfolio. The group management approved a new multi-year IT project, aimed at speeding up the harmonisation of the system and process environment in the different Hotelplan business units, thus laying the groundwork to exploit further synergies.
Hotelplan UK strengthens the ski business – As of 1st of June 2019, Hotelplan UK is acquiring the British company Flexiski. This takeover will allow Hotelplan UK to expand its offering of skiing and snowboarding to include flexible and tailor-made short breaks.
Hotelplan Group acquires vtours – Hotelplan Group takes over the online operator vtours based in Aschaffenburg (D) and Glattbrugg/Zurich. vtours mainly produces and distributes beach holidays in the Mediterranean under its own brands and for third parties. The products are largely compiled dynamically and distributed via online platforms and travel agencies.
Hotelplan Group acquires Finass – Hotelplan Group acquires the business, incentive and event travel specialist Finass Reisen AG as of November 1, 2018. Finass with its head office in Wetzikon/Zurich continues to act independently.
Sale of Regaldive – Hotelplan Group divests the UK diving specialist Regaldive.
Closure of travel.ch – Hotelplan Suisse ceases operating the travel.ch brand at the end of October 2017. A re-evaluation of the brand portfolio has revealed too many overlaps with Migros Ferien and Hotelplan, making it more expedient to invest the available funds in these brands in the future.
New Department “Sport & Special Tours” at Hotelplan Suisse – Hotelplan Suisse launches the new department “Sport & Special Tours”, with a focus on sports, active holidays and special tours.
Sale of Hotelplan Italia – Hotelplan Italia is sold to the tour operator Eden Viaggi in Italy as of 31.10.2016. The Hotelplan brand is licensed and remans in the Italian market.
Hotelplan Group launches bedfinder ag – bedfinder ag is founded on 19.12.2016. bedfinder provides worldwide B2C and B2B travel services. On the one hand, this includes selling products directly to the customer via modern web platforms; on the other hand, bedfinder also makes white label products, technology and fulfilment services available to interested partners.
Hotelplan Group acquires leading UK soft adventure specialist – Hotelplan Group is acquiring the soft adventure provider Explore Worldwide and the diving specialist Regaldive. This will allow Hotelplan UK to expand its offering of skiing, cycling and hiking holidays to include group adventure and diving travel.
Integration of travel.ch into Hotelplan Suisse – As of September 1, 2015, Travelwindow Group, a 100% subsidiary of Hotelplan Group, has been integrated into the activities of Hotelplan Suisse.
Hotelplan celebrates its 80th anniversary – 80 years ago, on 29 April 1935, Gottlieb Duttweiler launched Hotelplan. In the meantime, Hotelplan has become one of Switzerland’s leading travel brands.
In launching Hotelplan on 29 April 1935, Migros founder Gottlieb Duttweiler’s aim was to help the struggling Swiss hotel industry and make holidays accessible to the ‘man on the street’. “We need to try to reach a new customer, one hitherto unfamiliar with travel,” ‘Dutti’ reasoned.
Today, Hotelplan Suisse is represented on the domestic market by the brands Globus Reisen, Travelhouse, Tourisme Pour Tous, Hotelplan, Migros Ferien and bta first travel. More than 1000 members of staff in 123 branches offer expert advice and ensure that customers can enjoy trouble-free, memorable vacations.
Hotelplan Suisse takes off with HolidayJet – Hotelplan Suisse enters into a cooperation with Swiss airline partner Germania AG. Flights with two A319 aircraft to short and medium-haul destinations with ‘HolidayJet – operated by Germania’ are being offered in conjunction with the travel brands Migros Ferien, Hotelplan and Globus Reisen.
Globus Reisen introduces new beach holiday brochures – The premium brand of Hotelplan Suisse – Globus Reisen – launches the new ‘Soley’ brochures onto the Swiss market. These brochures carry the best products from the former range of the Travelhouse sub-brands Sierramar, Caribtours and Soleytours under the premium brand Globus Reisen, from exquisite beach holidays and luxury travel to exclusive city breaks.
Cessation of the Denner Reisen discount brand – Hotelplan Suisse takes the discount travel brand Denner Reisen off the market as of 31 October 2014. Denner will however continue to be used as an important distribution channel, for example through advertising attractively priced Hotelplan offers in the “Denner Woche” weekly brochure.
Interhome wins gold and silver for its new e-shop – The leading vacation home rental agency Interhome has won gold in the “Usability” category and silver in the “Business Efficiency” category for its newly launched booking platform at this year’s “Best of Swiss Web” Awards. Interhome ranked third overall among nearly 400 projects.
Hotelplan Group completes acquisition of Inter Chalet – As of 1 November 2013 Hotelplan Group owns 100% of Inter Chalet Ferienhaus-Gesellschaft mbH, headquartered in Freiburg im Breisgau. The acquisition strengthens the position of the leading vacation home provider together with Interhome.
Travelwindow Group withdraws from the Scandinavian market – After a strategic review it has been decided for the Travelwindow Group to withdraw from its expansion within the Scandinavian market and along with this the travel.se portal for the Swedish market has been closed.
Reorganization of Hotelplan Italia – Despite massive falls in demand and a difficult business environment in the Italian travel and tour operating market, the Hotelplan Group still has full faith in Hotelplan Italia, and has subjected the company to a total realignment with substantial structural adjustments. The new strategy will see Hotelplan Italia focus on its core competencies, i.e. the long-haul business and – under its existing Turisanda specialist brand – on Egypt, offering Nile cruises and Red Sea beach holidays. At the same time, the company will also make a particular effort to strengthen its distribution network.
Hotelplan Suisse further expands its dynamic tour operating – Hotelplan Suisse continues to develop, refine and further expand the dynamic tour operating which was introduced in September 2012. Having been successfully adopted for the hotelplan.ch website, the technology concerned is now being extended to the web platforms of Hotelplan Suisse’s further travel brands to meet the needs and the booking behaviour of the company’s customers.
Hotelplan Group disposes of Ascent Travel – The Hotelplan Group sells its shareholding in Russia-based tour operator Ascent Travel, headquartered in Moscow.
Hotelplan introduces dynamic tour operating – Hotelplan is re-launching its www.hotelplan.ch website. With its flexible state-of-the-art technology, the new site enables visitors to find and book both conventional brochure products and dynamically-generated inclusive-tour arrangements in real time. In offering these new booking functions and facilities, Hotelplan is adding “dynamic tour operating” to its classic tour operating business.
The Hotelplan Group launches a modern dynamic packaging platform – Dynamic holiday packages and last minute offers at day to day prices are available at travel.at, the Austrian branch of Travelwindow. This powerful dynamic packaging platform will be gradually introduced throughout the Group and used as of spring 2012 for online sales in Switzerland.
Hotelplan Group to acquire Inter Chalet – As of 1 November 2011 Hotelplan Group acquires a 26% equity holding in Inter Chalet Ferienhaus-Gesellschaft mbH, based in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany). In a second step, Inter Chalet – which is Germany’s leading specialist provider of vacation rental homes – should be acquired in full by the Hotelplan group, with a view to further strengthening the position of the group’s own Interhome brand.
Hotelplan Group sells its ‘Riviera Beach Club’ to Belambra – The Hotelplan group sells its ‘Riviera Beach Club’ to Belambra, France’s number 1 operator of vacation resorts and thus concludes the strategic step of disposing of the ‘Horizonte’ hotel group.
travel.ch grows further – after Austria follows Sweden – travel.ch, a pioneer among online travel agencies, is expanding its leading position in Switzerland consistently. Following the successful expansion of its presence in western Switzerland in 2010, the company Travelwindow starts with the founding of subsidiaries in Germany, Austria and Sweden across national borders.
Hotelplan Group expands in UK – The Hotelplan Group expands its operations in Britain by acquiring the Enigma Travel Group, a company specializing in skiing holidays, which comprises the Esprit Holidays and Ski Total brands. As a result of this acquisition, Hotelplan UK – comprising tour operator Inghams with Inntravel and now the Engima Travel Group – has become one of the best diversified skiing and walking holidays specialist in Britain.
Hotelplan Group with new business structure – The business operations of the Hotelplan Group are re-organised in three new divisions: Full Service Travel Operations, Specialised Tour Operating and Travel Related & Online Services. The largest of the three new business divisions, Full Service Travel Operations, comprises Hotelplan Suisse with bta first travel and Hotelplan Italy. The Specialised Tour Operating division consists of the tour operators Inghams and Enigma Travel Group in Great Britain and Ascent Travel in Russia. The third division ‘Travel Related & Online Services’ comprises holiday apartment provider Interhome with Vacando and Swiss online portal travel.ch.
In addition, the Switzerland Business Unit is renamed, changing from M-Travel Switzerland toHotelplan Suisse.
Interhome enters exclusive partnership with Orascom Development in El Gouna (Egypt)– Interhome is further expanding internationally by entering into an exclusive partnership with Orascom Hotels & Development S.A.E. of Egypt, a 100% subsidiary of Orascom Development Holding AG (Orascom Development), a leading developer of fully integrated towns. The group’s largest project – the Red Sea resort of El Gouna – is an integrated holiday and leisure destination comprising some 2600 villas and apartments. Since 1 March 2010, Interhome is present in El Gouna with a branded local office, offering a full range of services to property owners as well as to holidaymakers.
M-Travel Switzerland tightens its brand portfolio – M-Travel Switzerland (MTCH AG), which resulted from last year’s merger of Hotelplan Schweiz AG and Travelhouse AG, aligns itself in a second phase of restructuring even more to the customer needs, reduces duplications and benefits from synergy potential. The newly formed divisions of M-Travel Switzerland ‘Longhaul/Europe/Cruises’, ‘Beach Holiday Shorthaul’ and ‘Specialist’ are represented within the established brand catalogues. With this optimization of the brand portfolio, ESCO will no longer be acting as a brand. This as well as the actual economic situation has led to a cutback on personnel of approximately 50 employees at the headoffice. The traditional brand Hotelplan however will be strengthened even more by this product improvement. With the six strategically differently positioned brands – Denner Reisen, Migros Ferien, Hotelplan, Tourisme Pour Tous, Travelhouse and Globus Reisen – M-Travel Switzerland is covering all customer needs.
Interhome and Switzerland Tourism launch strategic partnership – Interhome and Switzerland Tourism, the national tourism marketing organization, have launched a strategic partnership. Under their new cooperation deal, they will make use of important synergies to enhance Switzerland’s position as a preferred holiday destination in Swiss and foreign markets.
Vacando expands its online-platform – In addition to offering some 90,000 holiday properties worldwide, the Interhome subsidiary Vacando has launched a direct ‘do-it-yourself platform’, which enables owners to market and rent out their properties independently. The new offer complements Interhome’s full-service concept, comprising all aspects of marketing including guest care.
Interhome enters partnership with Easyjet – Interhome has entered into an exclusive partnership with British low cost carrier Easyjet, the continent’s fourth largest airline. Under the agreement, Interhome’s extensive portfolio of holiday properties will be made accessible to Easyjet passengers on the carrier’s homepage and respective national websites. The cooperation agreement covers Britain, France, Germany and Switzerland.
M-Travel Switzerland takes over shareholding on Group Worldspan AG – M-Travel Switzerland takes over a minority shareholding in the renowned company Group Worldspan AG which operates in the Events, Incoming and Incentive areas. In this way, M-Travel Switzerland is covering one further promising niche in the customer portfolio.
M-Travel Switzerland takes over bta Holding AG – On 1 January 2010, M-Travel Switzerland will be taking over the successful bta Holding AG with the acquisition of a controlling stake. As a result, the business travel brand FCm First Business Travel, which is already part of M-Travel Switzerland, will be integrated in bta Holding AG. The business travel brands will now be known under the name bta First Travel AG. In addition to its core business of business travel management, bta also offers holiday and group travel, incentive, congress travel and event management. bta operates 10 branches employing 80 people in Switzerland. The merger with FCm First Business Travel will further strengthen the company’s position.
New company structure for Belair – Hotelplan Holding AG sells its majority shareholding of 51% on Belair Airlines AG to Air Berlin PLC. In November 2007 Air Berlin acquired 49 percent of Belair from Hotelplan Holding AG and since then continuously developed the Swiss airline. By spring 2010 the Swiss fleet will be increased from three to nine aircraft and over 130 new cabin and cockpit positions will be created. The Hotelplan Group will remain an important partner of Air Berlin.
Reorganisation of the management structure in Switzerland – the management structure and management of the entire organisation in Switzerland has been reorganised. Hotelplan Switzerland and Travelhouse Groups, which have previously been operating separately, have merged to form ‘M-Travel Switzerland’, to become the new overall organisation for Swiss operations. With this consolidation of the organisational and management structures for all Swiss business under the umbrella of M-Travel Switzerland, the Hotelplan Group has taken a momentous strategic decision. This structure also covers Denner Reisen, taken over by the Hotelplan Group. The separate market presence of successful brands within the Hotelplan Group portfolio, in particular those operated by the Travelhouse Group, is retained.
The Hotelplan Group takes over the tour operator Inntravel in England – The Hotelplan Group takes over the successful travel specialist Inntravel in England. Inntravel is one of the most high profile specialists in the winter sports, walking and cycling holiday sectors. This enables the Hotelplan Group to pursue its strategy and to expand in promising niche markets. The new business division is incorporated into the English Hotelplan subsidiary “Inghams Travel”.
Interhome expands with 16,000 additional properties in the USA – Interhome AG signs an exclusive reciprocal marketing cooperation deal with ResortQuest, the leading provider of rented holiday accommodation in the USA. With 16,000 additional properties in the United States, the Interhome portfolio has grown to a total of 46,000 holiday homes and apartments in 21 countries.
Migros Ferien – new direct sales brand of M-Travel Switzerland – M-Travel Switzerland launches a new product within the direct sales channel under the brand of ‘Migros Ferien’. Migros Ferien offers beach holidays, roundtrips and cruises with top quality at fair prices and is marketing itself to families, younger people and quality-conscious guests.
M-Travel Switzerland / MTCH AG: A new legal name for Hotelplan Schweiz AG and Travelhouse AG – Since January 2008, Hotelplan Schweiz AG and Travelhouse AG have been operating under the joint name of M-Travel Switzerland. The merger is legally completed on 1st November 2008 and the resulting company bears the name of M-Travel Switzerland / MTCH AG. For the end customers, however, the company is now represented by the seven different trademarks and not by the umbrella brand M-Travel Switzerland.
HP SWISS GROUP and Globus put together a package for the premium travel market – Globus Reisen aims to appeal to anyone who is looking for something special, an authentic experience and true savoir-vivre when they travel. Its launch covers five travel segments: Just relax (a different kind of beach or spa holiday), City & More (selected city breaks), ***delicatessa-Reisen (themed holidays with a culinary bias), Culture and Specials. Hotelplan is responsible for operational management, while Globus takes care of strategy and the quality of its products.
The Hotel Corte dei Butteri in Tuscany gets a new owner – Hotelplan sells its Horizonte Club Italia SRL hotel business, which includes the Hotel Corte dei Butteri in Fonteblanda/Tuscany, to the Naples-based Aurum Hotel Group.
Hotelplan und Air Berlin agree on a strategic partnership – Hotelplan and Air Berlin PLC enter into a strategic partnership. At the same time, Air Berlin acquires a 49 percent stake in Belair Airlines AG, Hotelplan’s charter flight company. With this partnership, Hotelplan and Belair are considerably expanding their range of flights as well as their frequency and flexibility. For Air Berlin, this tie-up will help to expand its activities on the Swiss market.
The Spanish Pueblo Eldorado Playa holiday resort is sold – Hotelplan sells its Pueblo Eldorado Playa hotel complex in Cambrils, Costa Dorada, to the well-known holiday property group MedGroup Inversiones SL, Barcelona.
Hotelplan takes over the Denner Reisen product range in the spring of 2008 – On 1st April 2008, Hotelplan obtains a concession from Denner to organise holidays under the ‘Denner-Reisen’ brand. ‘Denner-Reisen’ arranges beach holidays around the Mediterranean, overseas trips, guided tours and cruises.
Hotelplan AG – from a parent company to a holding company – The Hotelplan Group is legally restructured as of 1st November 2007. Within this new structure, the individual national companies concentrate on travel/holiday business. They are overseen by a new management company, which is home to both group management as well as various central divisions. The key aspect is that the holding company is the umbrella company, and belongs entirely to the Federation of Migros Cooperatives.
The former “Hotelplan AG” is replaced by three new companies:
- Hotelplan Holding AG is a pure holding company with no operating activities
- Hotelplan Management AG provides central services for individual companies throughout the entire group
- Hotelplan Schweiz AG takes care of operational travel/holiday business for the various Swiss brands
Hotelplan takes over Ascent Travel the leading Russian ski tour operator – Hotelplan Holding acquires a majority shareholding in the Russian Ascent Travel Group. With a market share of 20% Ascent Travel is the clear leader in the fast growing Russian ski holiday market. Inghams Travel, the leading British ski tour operator, already belongs to the Hotelplan Group. This acquisition will create considerable synergies between Inghams and Ascent Travel, in terms of both production and marketing. The Russian company is not only a ski tour operator, but also the market leader for emerging summer destinations, including Croatia and Montenegro, and has a strong market position for travel from Russia to southern Europe.
Interhome on I-Rent – On 17.12.2007, the Interhome Group’s 27-year old booking system (BIRD) is replaced, thanks to a successful migration to the newly developed SAP-based reservation and production system known as I-Rent (Interhome Reservation Network Tool).
Hotelplan Holland is taken over by the Dutch Oad Group – Hotelplan sells its Dutch subsidiary to Oad. With a turnover of 766 million Euros in 2005, the Oad Group is one of the leading tour operators in Holland.
Sale of the IkarosVillage on Crete – Hotelplan sells the Ikaros Village holiday resort on Crete. The sale takes place against the background of a strategic review and the corporate strategy outlined therein, according to which Hotelplan will no longer operate any hotels or holiday resorts in future.
A common future for Hotelplan and Travelhouse – The Hotelplan Group acquires a majority shareholding in the Travelhouse Group, including ten specialist tour operators and their outlets, thereby creating the largest tour operator on the Swiss market. This merger reinforces the Hotelplan Group’s position on its important Swiss home market. The Travelhouse Group, formerly (prior to 1st January 2005) the “Reisebaumeister-Gruppe”, is an independent, unaffiliated travel company employing 380 people and, with a consolidated turnover of CHF 235.2 million, is the fourth largest tour operator in Switzerland. The successful travel company will continue to be run as an independent venture by travel specialists as a business division of the Hotelplan Group.
Interhome increases its marketing activity and acquires a majority shareholding in com.on AG – For nine years com.on AG has been a major service partner of Interhome and its parent company Hotelplan. The seven-strong com.on team specialise in customer relationship management, database marketing, direct marketing, web programming and design.
In 2005 too, the travel sector is severely affected by terrorist attacks. On 23rd July, several car bombs explode in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm el Sheik, killing numerous people. Various hotel complexes are destroyed.
The Hotelplan Group acquires a majority shareholding in Travelwindow AG, operator of the largest Swiss online travel web site ‘travel.ch’. With the acquisition of Travelwindow AG and the dynamic expansion of www.hotelplan.ch, Hotelplan gains a market-leading position in the fast-growing Swiss online travel sector.
Utoring, a subsidiary of Interhome AG, sells the Hotel Disentiserhof to its condominium owners. Interhome/Utoring, as well as Hotelplan, will work with the Disentiserhof as a hotel partner in future.
The IkarosVillage on Crete under the management of Iberostar – Hotelplan hands over management of the Horizonte Ikaros Village holiday resort on Crete to its long-term hotel partner Iberostar. The resort continues to operate as the “Iberostar Ikaros Village”.
Hotelplan Italy launches the new ‘T-Club’ brand – with a range of selected exclusive small hotels and resorts in top-class locations, the T-Club philosophy meets the growing requirement for individual, personalised holidays in the upmarket sector. The first seven TClub properties are opened this year in the Maldives, Belize, Antigua, Mauritius, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt. Other openings are planned for 2006 in Baja California, Mykonos and Sardinia along with a second property in Egypt.
2004 ends with the greatest natural catastrophe in modern history: On 26th December a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean lays waste to vast areas of south and south east Asia. Approximately 160,000 people lose their lives and hundreds of thousands lose their livelihoods.
The catastrophe affects around 2,000 Hotelplan Group guests in holiday destinations in the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the Thai island of Phuket. The emergency task force formed by national organisations in Switzerland, Italy and Holland works with local tour guides to organise transport home for these travellers – in part by using special Belair flights. Despite strenuous efforts and searches, of all the tourists, who have booked a package holiday in the stricken area with Hotelplan, regrettably eight people remain unaccounted for.
Palm Tree Islands, the Horizonte resort on South Male atoll in the Maldives, is almost completely destroyed by the tidal wave.
The war in Iraq, the respiratory disease SARS and the poor economic climate have an adverse effect on tourism. Despite this, the two foreign companies Inghamsin England and Hotelplan Italy post excellent results; the latter closing the year with record figures.
Hotelplan moves into its new headquarters in Glattbrugg, bringing together around 500 employees of Hotelplan, Interhome/Utoring, Horizonte and First Business Travel in a new and modern building.
TPT Tourisme pour Tous S.A., a 100% subsidiary of Hotelplan AG with its headquarters in Lausanne, merges with Hotelplan AG and continues to operate as a Hotelplan Swiss Group brand.
Interhome acquires 100% of the shares in Casa Club Srl, a holiday home agent operating in the upmarket sector for villa rentals in Tuscany.
Hotelplan Italy expands its sales network with the acquisition of a minority shareholding of 34% in the established “Gattinoni Travel Network” distribution network.
Belair Airlines AG, founded on 3.11.2001, has established itself as a quality product on the Swiss holiday charter flight market. At the end of April, the fleet of two Boeing B757-200 ERs for short and medium haul flights is expanded with the acquisition of a Boeing B-767-300 ER long haul aircraft.
2001 was marked by worldwide and national events, which had an extremely negative effect on tourism: the dreadful 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA, the grounding of Swissair, air accidents in Milan, New York and Zürich as well as other terrible occurrences not only dampened spirits but also the desire to travel.
Despite all this, Hotelplan establishes the new Swiss holiday flight company, Belair Airlines AG, in order to safeguard its own charter flight business. Hotelplan Swiss Group’s new airline fleet includes both of the Boeing 757-200ERs purchased by Hotelplan in May 2000.
A record turnover despite a stiff headwind and unfavourable conditions – a worldwide economic downturn, the events of 11th September, the grounding of Swissair – the Hotelplan Group generates a record turnover of 2.289 billion francs in the financial year 2000/2001.
The HP SWISS GROUP purchases two brand new Boeing 757-200ERs, which are operated on behalf of Hotelplan by Belair from the spring of 2000, predominantly for medium haul flights. With its new strategy, Hotelplan considerably increases its aircraft capacity, with 210 seats each. By choosing the Boeing 757-200ER, Hotelplan has opted for the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly medium haul aircraft.
The Hotelplan Group agrees on a strategic partnership with the Iberostar Group. The most important aspect of the agreement is exclusive access, within the various Hotelplan markets, to Iberostar’s well-established popular international chain of hotels. There are around 40 Iberostar hotels in all Hotelplan’s major holiday destinations; the Balearic and Canary Islands, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Tunisia, Greece and Turkey.
On 31st October 1999, Tourisme Pour Tous (TPT), the Hotelplan subsidiary based in French-speaking Switzerland, takes over Royal Tours, Switzerland’s leading Morocco specialist with its headquarters in Geneva. This takeover reinforces TPT’s position as a specialist in western Switzerland.
In mid-November, Hotelplan’s sixth Horizonte property is opened in the Maldives – the Palm Tree Island Resort consists of three unique, connected islands Dhigufinolhu, Veliganduhuraa and Bodu Huraa.
Hotelplan Italy acquires 100 % of the shares in the long-established, well-known travel company“Turisanda” with its headquarters in Milan.
Hotelplan Holland acquires a majority shareholding in the travel agency chain “Van Staalduinen B.V.”, which owns eight travel agencies in central Holland.
Another record year for the Hotelplan Group, which further consolidates its market position during the financial year 1999 and is able to continue expanding. The extremely satisfactory trading figures are not merely the result of acquisitions of service providers, but are entirely generated by its own efforts. Regardless of renewed stiff competition, the number of passengers increases by 8.4 % to 2.27 million. Turnover rises by 9.4 % to 1.94 billion francs. For the first time, the percentage of turnover for all foreign companies – i.e. England, Holland, Italy and France as well as the Interhome Group which operates in around 14 countries – represents approximately half of the consolidated turnover. Operating profit (EBIT) improves by 26.0 % to 44.92 million francs.
With holidays for over 2 million travellers from Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy, France and the Netherlands, the Hotelplan Group generates a turnover of 1.77 billion francs. The financial results once again beat the previous year’s records.
The Hotelplan Group’s own Horizonte Club and hotel facilities expand their range with a fifth property in Djerba, the ***-Hotel Meninx, a newly renovated, typically Moorish style hotel.
A reorientation of the Hotelplan Group on the Swiss market: in a market characterised by mergers and alliances, the volume related advantages of procurement and handling are increasingly significant. In terms of management, the previously competing domestic companies ESCO Reisen (including Parianos) and Hotelplan Switzerland (including Tourisme pour Tous) are brought together under a single roof as the “HP Swiss Group”. In addition to centrally managing the flights business and coordinating hotel procurement, other partnership opportunities are unearthed within the HP Swiss Group, including tour organisation, commercial policy, sales, IT and communication. With a clear brand policy, the company’s image for clients is improved: The Hotelplan brand is positioned as an all-round operator, the Esco brand as a specialist in certain regions and the M-travel brand as a low-cost provider.
Hotelplan Holland takes over the Maastricht based travel company Schoenmaeckers B.V.with a network of 5 branches in the south of Holland.
Inghams Travel acquires ‘Bladon Lines’, a company specialising in chalet holidays.
Using a MD-11 long range jet belonging to Swissair, Hotelplan Switzerland and Hotelplan Italy flyaround the world in 23 days.
The increasingly difficult economic climate forces the French subsidiary of Hotelplan to consolidate its strengths. Hotelplan France moves its head office from Paris to Mulhouse and will focus more the markets in the Alsace and Rhône-Alpes regions in future.
The Hotelplan subsidiary ESCO Reisen AG expands into southern Germany with the opening of 7 new travel agencies.
Despite a great reluctance to book holidays and trips because of the gulf war and the difficult economic climate, the results for the Hotelplan Group as a whole, and Hotelplan Switzerland, ESCO Reisen AG, Interhome and Inghams Travel in particular, are once again very good. Net profit exceeds 10 million francs for the first time.
Turnover approaches a billion: With almost 1.5 million travellers and an annual turnover of more than 1 billion francs, at the beginning of the 1990s, the Hotelplan Group becomes one of the ten largest companies in the European travel sector.
A historical milestone in the company’s 55-year history is celebrated over the Easter weekend of 1990, with the successful launch of the computer link between Hotelplan and INTERHOME.
Hotelplan Switzerland increases its turnover by 10.2 % to 379 million francs. The USA programme, city breaks and the M-travel range are very well received by customers, and flights from Basel-Mulhouse are extremely successful in their first year.
On 31.10.90, the long-established travel company “Tourisme pour Tous” (TPT) based in French-speaking Switzerland is acquired, bringing with it its tour operating business as well as 9 travel agency outlets.
Finally, the opportunity is taken, thanks to the favourable climate on the property market, topurchase two office buildings in Zürich (Hotelplan’s headquarters) and Basel (ESCO’s headquarters).
In May, Hotelplan Holland, the 3rd ranked tour operator in the country, acquires 10 agencies, which operate under the M-travel name; this branch network is expanded in the autumn with the acquisition of a further 9 outlets.
On 01.10.1989 Hotelplan acquires 100 % of the shares in the Interhome Group (Interhome, Utoring, Horizon Travel, Dr. Wulf’s and Ribourel). The acquisition of the world’s largest provider of holiday homes and apartments visibly reinforces its presence on the European market, with a balanced geographic portfolio of activities, providing it with room for manoeuvre in the face of its European competitors. Significant synergies are achieved by merging Hotelplan’s and INTERHOME’s IT Centres. By this time, the Hotelplan Group includes 36 companies with more than 140 business operations in 12 countries.
In 1989, HORIZONTE generates a turnover of 21.5 million francs with more than 35,000 travellers taking a holiday with one of its companies.
To expand its potential in the central and southern Italian market, a sales office, controlled by the subsidiary in Milan, is opened in Rome.
In its 51st year of trading, against all the odds, the Hotelplan Group succeeds in increasing its consolidated turnover by 19.8 million francs (or 3.7%) to 562.9 million francs.
The “Riviera Beach Club”, in Hyères in the South of France, which now forms part of the HORIZONTE range, celebrates its 30th birthday.
Hotelplan establishes Horizonte Clubferien and Clubhotels AG and acquires the “Corte dei Butteri” hotel in Tuscany.
Hotelplan succeeds in acquiring the uniquely positioned “IkarosVillage” on Crete, the best established on the market.
Market saturation and relentlessly tough competition from other European tour operators has increased by 1981.
Hotelplan acquires the 3 remaining shares in ESCO Reisen AG and now owns 100 % of the share capital.
By now the entire Hotelplan organisation consists of 72 offices and outlets worldwide.
To add to the ever expanding “Riviera Beach Club”, the “Pueblo Eldorado Playa” bungalow village is built in Cambrils, to the south of Barcelona in Spain.
Foreign expansion continues: Hotelplan acquires Inghams Travel in England.
The jet age begins: The first trips on jet aircraft go to the Middle East and Egypt.
Hotelplan acquires 97 % of Esco’s share capital. In close cooperation with Hotelplan, Esco primarily becomes an air travel organisation.
Total turnover exceeds 50 million.
Hotelplan takes an increasing interest in holidays in the Far East. The first trips to India and Japan are organised.
Esco’s figures are poor, and by agreement with Hotelplan, it becomes a limited company.
In partnership with the Federation of Migros Cooperatives, the “Riviera Beach Club”, the first Hotelplan holiday village, is created. It is located close to Hyères, facing Levant and Porquerolles islands, in the South of France.
This year witness the establishment of Esco-Travels GmbH (European Study and Contact Travel) with its business headquarters in Zürich.
The Hotelplan Group’s turnover passes the 20 million mark.
Hotelplan sets up a new feeder service for Dutch and English guests, 12,000 Dutch, English and Belgian tourists make use of it.
Hotelplan establishes a subsidiary in France with its headquarters in Paris.
Hotelplan establishes another subsidiary in Holland.
A Hotelplan office is opened in Milan followed by the establishment of Hotelplan Italy. Group tours to Rome and Capri are incorporated into the programme.
After the war, the only tourists able to travel to Switzerland are English, as this is the only country which has the currency to travel abroad. 8,000 English tourists travel to Switzerland with Hotelplan in 1946, benefiting from more than 100,000 nights accommodation.
The first foreign trips are organised to Milan, Venice, Florence and the Riviera.
Holiday requirements change because of the war. Hotelplan allows for this development as far as possible by creating new short stays, tours, special discount holidays etc. A 7-day all-inclusive family holiday in Lauterbrunnen costs 66 francs, and is half price for children up to the age of 6.
In order to get through the difficult war years and, according to its motto, to guarantee full employment for staff, Hotelplan takes over various administrative divisions – affiliated Migros operations.
At a time when petrol is rationed and rail journeys need to be reduced to a minimum, Hotelplan launches its “Cycling holidays” campaign, which immediately attracts more than 5,000 cyclists.
The outbreak of war has a disastrous effect on tourism; Hotelplan’s turnover falls to 0.8 million francs. Despite this, the cooperative’s board decides to continue to run Hotelplan by making sacrifices and implementing austere measures.
After just three years, Hotelplan’s profit and loss account is in the black and the company has therefore become self-supporting. This even surprises its founder, who had reckoned on a pretty long lean spell.
25,762 Swiss and 47,969 foreigners travel with Hotelplan, generating an additional turnover for the Swiss national economy of at least ten million francs. Every additional night’s accommodation represents an extra day’s work in Switzerland, where unemployment is rife.
To help the hard-pressed Swiss hotel industry and, at the same time, to allow the average person to have a holiday: This was idea of Migros’ founder, Gottlieb Duttweiler, when he launched Hotelplan on 29th April 1935. “What we need to do is to try and appeal to new clients who are not in the habit of travelling”, muses Gottlieb Duttweiler. In June, the first special Hotelplan train runs to Lugano. One all-inclusive week costs 65 francs. In the first year alone, a total of 52,648 weeks bookings are sold.