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.
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.