The personal side of why the roomsXML merger really means “ business as usual but better”
About nine months ago I sat with the Bang Family of roomsXML for a few days of working through sales figures, customer service issues, plans for the future and “so what else is news”?
“Well Mark, we are investigating a merger with a UK travel company.”
Not the expected answer, but an interesting change of direction in the conversation! It was an intense period of legal, accounting, finance and business structuring, whilst maintaining “business as usual” and preparing for significant changes in our medium to longer term future.
There’s a distinction between “takeover” and “merger” which varies in every interaction. This merger was about two companies, roomsXML and getabed, both seeing an opportunity and having the courage to bring it to each other. In the UK we were competitors but always regarded one another highly.
Imagine the moment when you meet with a company you admire, who are still a competitor and find the guts to say “err, we could do great things together if we stopped competing”. Gutsy move!
“Getting along”, “shared ideals”, “shared industry perspectives” and “shared moralities” were the cornerstones of coming together. Everything else gets analysed, negotiated, compromised, discussed and dissected. That’s business. Having a basis of admiration and respect generated the trust to work through the challenges presented when two proud companies seek to come together.
getabed are a proven company with a proud history. Matt and his family have a 27 year long reputation of solid, reliable and trustworthy business in the UK. As “humans” they have a genuine triple bottom line focus in what they do; great indicators for a partnership.
What was the attraction in merging?
Coming together will significantly improve what we do and how we do it. We identified that both companies had strengths which the other sought and weaknesses which the other could help fill. This included hotel contracts, policy and procedure, customer service processes, technology as well as access to different companies in different markets.
By merging we get a “leap frog growth spurt” to become one of the biggest global online hotel aggregators in size and turnover. That gives us better bargaining power with our combined supply chain which in turn means more competitive prices in more locations.
The net result is a lower operational cost base reflecting in a more powerful company with an even stronger value proposition. It’s a pretty exciting future.
The great thing for the Australia and New Zealand is that apart from those business and pricing improvements it’s still the same interface, the same payment terms, the same attentiveness to customer service and the same people on the phones who I love having work with me doing the same fantastic job.
Business as usual, but better.