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AccorHotels’ Travel Keys buy will counter Airbnb

February 8, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

AccorHotels is continuing its move into the luxury serviced home market, having confirmed yesterday that it has begun “exclusive negotiations” to acquire Travel Keys, one of the leading players in the private holiday rental sector.

The looming acquisition, for an undisclosed price, is widely interpreted as being a way for AccorHotels to shore up defences against incursions by online booking behemoth Airbnb. The last few years have seen Airbnb shift steadily from a holiday room booking service to a platform where people rent out whole apartments or luxury villas in competition with hotel operators and with much lower overheads.

Founded in 1991, Travel Keys is an elite travel broker representing a luxury collection of over 5000 “highly curated” villas across more than 100 destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii and the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.  The long-established Atlanta-based company offers professional holiday planning and round-the-clock concierge services.

Travel Keys will be Accor’s third acquisition or investment in this upscale niche sector in a year. Previous moves include Squarebreak, which deals in resort properties in France, Spain and Morocco. Accor took a 49% holding in that a year ago.

Accor also paid USD 168 million last April for onefinestay, with its portfolio of over 2600 luxury properties in London, Paris, Rome, Los Angeles and New York City.

In an issued statement, AccorHotels said the combination of Travel Keys with onefinestay and Squarebreak will provide AccorHotels with an offering of about 8500 addresses in the luxury private rental market.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

Chairman and chief executive of AccorHotels, Sebastien Bazin, said the Travel Keys team had built a “very robust business” that would prove instrumental in Accor’s strategy “to create the number one luxury private rental player in the world”.

“Travel Keys brings an impressive portfolio of premium properties to our existing activities. This acquisition further demonstrates our agility and dynamic approach to offer comprehensive services to our clients.”

Internationally recognised luxury brands under AccorHotels control now include Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel Legend, SO Sofitel, Sofitel, onefinestay, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman and Swissôtel; as well as the popular midscale and boutique brands of Novotel, Mercure, Mama Shelter and Adagio; economy brands including ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget and the regional brands Grand Mercure, The Sebel and hotelF1.

Written by Peter Needham

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