In an unexpected act, France-based tire company, Michelin, which is also the source of Michelin guides for restaurants and other tours, has acquired hotel booking platform, Tablet Hotels, back in October.
The goal of the deal is to have the Tablet Hotels team lead the digital transformation of the print-oriented Michelin Red Guides for restaurants and Green Guides for tourism, and to build a travel larger travel vertical, Tablet Hotels co-founder and CEO Laurent Vernhes said.
“Revenue from the Michelin Guides is a rounding error,” Vernhes said. “They believe it could be more than that.”
In fact, in 2017 Michelin, which has a market cap of $18.8 billion, created a Michelin Experiences unit to combine and grow its various travel-related assets, and has tested things such as offering Chinese travelers kitchen tours with chefs at Michelin-starred restaurants. The company also has ambitions to create a Michelin club, which would build on the learnings of the Tablet Plus membership club, Vernhes said.
“Travelers and foodies are now looking for experiences which tell a story, and which help them discover a universe where they can show their appreciation of the local cultures, said Pascal Couasnon, director of Michelin Group’s gastronomic and tourist activities, in a statement. “Tablet is part of this new lifestyle that fully corresponds to the ethos of the Michelin guides. We want to offer our readers the best, by revealing places that offer this extra soul and express the fruit of the work of hoteliers and passionate chefs alike.”
In a presentation at a Goldman Sachs conference in London a few days ago, Michelin stated that it considers Experiences, including travel and fine dining, as one of four key growth areas for the company. Its strategy includes investments and acquisitions to propel value creation for this restaurants and travel division, which has seen net sales triple in 2018.
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