12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
This week we report on apparent moves by the Accor hotel group to sell all or part of its stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), the new brand name for Hogg Robinson and a warning from the Worldspan ceo that GDSs must change.
Just as it seemed the dust was settling on the January upheavals with Hogg Robinson announcing its new name – we must call it HRG from April 3 – and its erstwhile partner BCD Holdings about to reveal its new moniker, Accor throws a spanner in the works.
The French hotel giant announces that it is getting rid of some of its major assets which suggests its 50% in CWT is up for sale.
CWT is a massive company with annual sales of $22bn. There cannot be many companies which would either both want it and can afford it.
It is unlikely that American Express, HRG or BCD Holdings would want it - even in the unlikely event that Accor was prepared to sell its stake to them.
There is a possibility that the Carlson Companies which own the other 50% might buy in. It certainly has the assets.
Finally there is the possibility of a management buy out – but this is rated fairly low by insiders BTE spoke to this week.
A possible outcome is that the company which like other travel management companies is moving increasingly away from the automated processes of bookings into the area of consultancy, is bought up by one of the world's major consultancy companies.
No much more of a long shot at the moment but one that might merit further thought.