Industry consensus holds that American Express Global Business Travel, BCD Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel are the "mega" travel management companies, and it's widely agreed they are the three largest in the world. In the next tier down, Expedia's Egencia and Flight Centre Travel Group's corporate travel brands separately have staked the claim as the fourth.
Since American Express Global Business Travel shifted five years ago to a joint-venture structure and took a big injection of capital, the question has been asked time and time again: How will the mega travel management company use the money? In addition to a couple splashy acquisitions—last year's HRG deal and 2016's purchase of corporate booking and expense provider KDS—Amex GBT also has been working behind the scenes for years to upgrade its core technology stack.
American Express Global Business Travel expects to complete its acquisition of Hogg Robinson Group on July 19 after European Union regulators cleared the deal on Friday.
Two of the world’s largest travel management companies have become one. American Express Global Business Travel Thursday completed its 410 million British pound takeover of Hogg Robinson Group to create a TMC that handles a combined $36 billion in annual transaction value. The mega of all megas now has mega integration work ahead.
U.K.-based outsourced services company Capita revealed yesterday that it had "received an unsolicited offer for its travel businesses from Corporate Travel Management Limited."
HRG this week achieved Level 3 certification as a travel seller under the International Air Transport Association's New Distribution Capability initiative, making it one of the few travel management companies to land certification at any level.
Ten years ago, HRG launched a North American affiliate program with a handful of U.S.-based travel management companies and a goal to add as many as a dozen members. Since then, the program has lost virtually all its U.S. affiliates and, according to former stakeholders, has been withering on the vine for years.
Several sources discussing the pending acquisition of HRG by American Express Global Business Travel anticipate the deal to close as designed. Yet, the door is open for another player with sufficient capital and a strategic rationale to make a competing offer.