This division covers the business operations of FIT and Groups/ MICE. These areas were greatly enlarged by the acquisition of Gullivers Travel Associates (GTA) in May 2011.
The Global Travel Services Division (GTS) business model is based on B2B relationships with various business partners. GTS offers a comprehensive worldwide portfolio of travel services to these partners. They all centre on specialist databases that provide online access to more than 45 000 hotels in 170 countries, as well as 15 000 individual and regular transfer services, city tours, excursions, tickets, tour guide services and restaurants. The business partners – typically travel agencies, well-known internet travel portals and tour operators – can find and book these products directly online for their customers. Thanks to the worldwide online networking of these services and the division’s modern technology, thousands of bookings can be processed electronically and efficiently every day.
GTS also focuses on creating individual, tailor-made group travel for tour operators and travel agents. The tour operators buy in these group arrangements and then offer them to their own customers in local source markets, e.g. Japan. Actually implementing these travel arrangements in the target destinations, e.g. Europe, is another of the GTS Division’s core competencies, and one in which it has decades of experience.
GTS works with companies, organisations and institutions to create programmes for congresses, conferences and trade fairs, as well as leisure and fun events, and travel packages that are used as part of a bonus/incentive scheme (MICE). These programmes are arranged and run locally by GTS.
The Global Travel Services Division (GTS) was established as part of the new group structure in 2011 following the integration of Gullivers Travel Associates (GTA) into the Kuoni Group. GTA’s activities were merged with the existing business operations of Kuoni Destination Management (KDM). The integration process will continue throughout 2012. GTA was acquired on 5 May 2011 from Travelport for a purchase price of CHF 616 million. The company, with its headquarters in London, was founded in 1975 and has since become one of the world’s leading providers within the fast-growing B2B online travel services market, as well as in the market for group leisure travel.
Kuoni Destination Management’s own B2B activities began as far back as 1963 when it opened its first sales office in Tokyo catering for Japanese tour groups that wanted to visit Europe. This area of business has continuously expanded ever since. Then in 2003, the FIT business was launched and successfully positioned with the creation of the Kuoni Connect hotel database.
The acquisition of GTA has led to a tripling of Kuoni’s turnover from B2B destination management business. It has also resulted in a significant expansion of Kuoni’s presence in the key Asian markets. Experts believe that B2B online business, as operated by the GTS Division, is the business model of the future for the global tourism industry, and that it has great potential for growth. By acquiring GTA and creating the GTS Division, Kuoni has become one of the leading providers operating in the worldwide B2B travel services market. Its portfolio clearly sets it apart from major European competitors in the traditional tour operating sector.
In 2011, the Global Travel Services Division generated turnover of CHF 1 844 million. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) came to CHF 36.7 million, while operating earnings before acquisition and integration costs stood at CHF 56.9 million.
Within Asian and Pacific source markets, there was strong growth in the Far East and especially the emerging markets China and Indonesia. Group business recovered well in the Japanese market after the nuclear disaster in March 2011, though demand for travel in the FIT sector remained subdued. Overall, European source markets posted a slight increase in bookings, with bookings made through travel agencies achieving double-digit percentage growth.
North and South America and the Middle East also contributed to the division’s good result with double-digit percentage growth.