lastminute.com is stepping up its Spanish presence, buying out JV partner Sol Melia for €6m while signing a new deal which sees its dynamic packaging software added to solmelia.com.
lastminute.com is taking control of Sol Melia’ 70% stake in lastminute.com Spain in order to integrate it with the Spanish operations of Travelprice.com, bought in a shares deal worth around £30m in July02. Travelprice sells flights and packages on the web and through a call centre and operates in France, Italy, Belgium and Spain.
The other element of the deal sees Sol Melia become the first hotel company to have access to lastminute.com’s dynamic packaging software. Customers going to solmelia.com to book a room will now be able to bundle the bed with a flight using Breakbuilder.
lastminute.com will continue to use Sol Melia as part of its hotels offer and is planning to give the properties special pages.
Sebastian Escarrer, vice president and CEO of Sol Melia, explained that the hotel chain is ‘strategically focused on maximising revenue through the rationalisation of its distribution channels’ pointing out that online bookings in the first six months of 2003 were 261% ahead of last year.
lastminute.com’s Brent Hoberman said that integrating its Spanish businesses would allow it to aggresively target the Spanish market which is projected to grow to €1.3bn by 2005.