Eric Altschul and Dic Marxen on ABC Global Services' acquisition of CCRA

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ABC Global Services earlier this month announced its acquisition of CCRA. The acquisition was born from a meeting between Eric Altschul, CEO of ABC, and Dic Marxen, president and CEO of CCRA, at a conference two years ago. Together, the companies offer a number of services, including hotel programs with more than 50,000 hotels combined. CCRA brings to the table its air program, a 24/7 after-hours call center, a global supplier network and its hallmark TRUE Code accreditation for agents. ABC brings its online booking tool ezBookPro, hotel consulting and sourcing division HotelConnex and a meetings and logistics business. Senior editor Jamie Biesiada spoke with Altschul and Marxen about the transaction.

Eric Altschul
Eric Altschul

Q: ABC and CCRA together have a number of products and services. Do you plan to sunset any of those? 

ALTSCHUL: Although ABC and CCRA have been healthy competitors for some time, the reality is when you look at our offerings and what we do, there's actually not a lot of overlap. The one area, and probably the most important area to both of us, is the hotel consortia program. Even though respectively each one is very large individually, there's a different overlap in terms of the customer base.

Historically, ABC has been 70% corporate, 30% leisure. CCRA's been 70% leisure, 30% corporate. From a customer standpoint, it meshes very, very well, and we're going to be able to offer more to our hotel partners in terms of more segmented marketing opportunities, more distribution opportunities and so on to help them as they go through their recovery and we all go through the recovery of the industry. 

一号电竞网We're not going to be sunsetting any of these services. There's no immediate plans to do so.

Q: What about the brands?

ALTSCHUL: Both brands have been around for a long time -- CCRA since 1974. ABC, we've been around since 1978. We each have a lot of customers and brand loyalty around the world, and CCRA's customers are used to booking on CCRA's rate code. ABC customers are used to booking the ABC rate code.

一号电竞网It will be a long-term blending of coming up with a single brand, if in fact that's what we decide to do, but it certainly won't be anytime soon. In the near term, we're going to be using both brands.

Q: Are you planning any changes on the executive level?

ALTSCHUL: None. As you see, the varied businesses that we have -- with this many businesses and this many divisions, we really need the strength at the top. We each have our own areas of responsibility of what we're going to manage. And then, the hotel program and agency management side is effectively going to be overseen by an executive committee made up of Dic, myself, executive vice president of hotel and supplier relations Klayton Killion and senior vice president Peter Frensz on the ABC side and chief commercial officer Peter Pincus on the CCRA side, to make sure that we incorporate all the history and knowledge and intelligence that we've all gained over the last number of years.

Dic Marxen
Dic Marxen

Q: What are some of the bigger benefits you see going forward?

MARXEN: The financial benefit of the overlap in synergies, that will be a really big plus for us. The key item is, and I don't know what other people and other travel entities are thinking about the future, but I can tell you this: Going forward and coming out of the pandemic, diversification is mandatory. And these companies that are a one-trick pony are going to have a tough time. Somebody like ourselves, we've got eight, nine diversified, revenue-generating divisions. That will allow us to be flexible. It will allow us to be strategic in how we utilize our distribution channels.

Q: What's your biggest focus now?

ALTSCHUL: Our No. 1 goal is to work with our supplier partners and our travel management company partners so that we can all recover as well as possible. We understand that there are changes and adaptations that need to be made on the hotel program side to help our hotel partners grow out of this. That is our immediate focus. 

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