As Hotelbeds’ Executive Chairman, Joan Vilà, transitions into a non-executive role on the Hotelbeds’ Board, he shares some reflections on his 32 year career, explains why he is confident about the future of the industry and pays tribute to the strong partnerships that have been part of the company’s success story.
Let’s hear from Joan...
“As you may know, I recently announced my decision to step back from the day to day running of Hotelbeds after 32 years and move to a non-executive role on Hotelbeds’ board, a move I had originally planned to make in 2020 but which I delayed when the pandemic hit in order to focus on navigating the company through the global crisis.
“Now though, as we start to see the early signs of recovery, I feel the time is right for me to step back and today, I wanted to reach out to you as one of our valued hotel partners in the industry, to thank you for all your support over the years.
“I am, of course, very proud of everything the Hotelbeds' family has achieved, together with our partners, over the years. From our early days as an incoming DMC in Spain, to our transformation to become a world leading travel-tech player, active in all major source markets and destinations worldwide - it’s been a real rollercoaster! In no small part, that success has been down to the strong partnerships we have across the industry.
“The pandemic has caused a seismic shift in the travel industry and has probably changed it forever in many ways. But as hard as it has been, and as challenging as it remains, there are huge opportunities ahead as we all look to capitalise on the enormous level of pent-up demand for travel.
“Even though there is general consensus in the industry that 2019 volumes are unlikely to return until 2023, as a company, we have made very good use of the global lock-down period - adapting with agility and accelerating our plans to increase efficiency and competitiveness through digitalisation and automation and this, together with a strengthened balance sheet means that in line with the gradual return of market demand, we are now in a good position to help our partners recover from the pandemic step by step.
“And for these reasons, I feel confident and optimistic about the future not just for Hotelbeds, but for our partners and the industry as a whole.
“I will continue to be very much be involved in the business going forward, as both a non-executive director on Hotelbeds’ board and as a committed shareholder, but I am handing over the reins for the day to day running of the business, to our newly appointed CEO, Nicolas Huss, who I will support over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.
“Nicolas is the former CEO of both Ingenico and Visa Europe and is a highly experienced board-level executive with a very strong reputation in the payments and financial services industries where he worked with some of the biggest brands in travel, as well as serving as a non-executive Director at Amadeus for 4 years.
“He brings to Hotelbeds extensive experience in leading technology and digital companies as well as a proven track record for driving organic growth making him a perfect fit for the company.
“I also think it’s fair to say that he will inherit a fantastic company, very well positioned to lead the recovery together with one of the strongest executive teams in the industry, including COO, Carlos Muñoz and Andres Garcia. “I am sure Nicolas will be in contact with you in due course and that we will also have many opportunities to meet in the future but in the meantime I wish you great success as we look forward to the continued recovery of our the industry.”