The deal between HotelPlanner and Reservations.com coincides with fresh concerns about the Delta variant of Covid-19 threatening this year’s travel rebound.
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HotelPlanner and Reservations.com have agreed to merge and go public through a special-purpose acquisition company, the companies said.
The combined online travel-booking firm will still be called HotelPlanner and is valued at about $685 million in its combination with the SPAC Astrea Acquisition Corp.
The deal comes as online travel companies cope with last year’s decline in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic and amid concerns that the Delta variant could halt this year’s rebound. HotelPlanner—which already owns the business-focused site Meetings.com—expects to post record sales this year that top 2019’s figure. The combined company projects roughly $170 million in revenue next year.
Smaller than many of its competitors, HotelPlanner hopes to sell public investors on its growth potential, discounted group rates and what it terms a gig customer-service system in which independent workers around the world do short-term work for the company. The firm hasn’t yet seen a large drop in demand due to the Delta variant, Chief Executive Tim Hentschel said in an interview.
“We’re pretty confident in what we can do over Covid,” Mr. Hentschel said. “So far, we’re not seeing a spike in cancellations.”