Greg O’Hara

Founder & Senior Managing Director

travel leaders group certares

Michael Gregory (Greg) O’Hara is the Founder and a Senior Managing Director of Certares. Prior to forming Certares, he served as Chief Investment Officer of JPMorgan Chase’s Special Investments Group (“JPM SIG”). Prior to JPM SIG, Greg was a Managing Director of One Equity Partners (“OEP”), the private equity arm of JPMorgan. Before joining OEP in 2005, he served as Executive Vice President of Worldspan and was a member of its Board of Directors. Greg is the Chairman of American Express Global Business Travel and the Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council, and serves on the Boards of Directors of Hertz Global Holdings, TripAdvisor, Certares Holdings, where he is the Head of the Investment Committee and is a member of the Management Committee of Certares Management LLC, CK Opportunities Fund, where he is a member of the Investment Committee and the Management Committee, and Certares Real Estate Holdings, where he is a member of the Investment Committee and the Management Committee.

Greg received his Master of Business Administration degree from Vanderbilt University.

Colin Farmer

Senior Managing Director & Head of Management Committee

travel leaders group certares

Colin Farmer is a Senior Managing Director and the Head of the Management Committee of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he was a Managing Director of One Equity Partners (“OEP”). Prior to joining OEP, he worked for eight years at Harvest Partners, a middle market private equity firm, and for two years at Robertson Stephens & Company, a middle market investment bank. Colin is the Chairperson of Hertz Global Holdings and serves on the Boards of Directors of Avoya Travel, Guardian Alarm, Internova Travel Group, and Mystic Invest. In addition to leading the Management Committee of Certares Management LLC, Colin is also a member of the Investment Committee of Certares Holdings and the CK Opportunities Fund. Colin further serves as a member of the Certares Real Estate Holdings Investment Committee and Management Committee.

Colin received his A.B. in English Literature from Princeton University.

Senior Managing Director

travel leaders group certares

Tom Klein is a Senior Managing Director of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, Tom was a Director, CEO and President of Sabre Incorporated (NASDAQ: SABR) (“Sabre”), a global technology company serving the travel industry and its subsidiary, Travelocity.com, one of the world’s leading online travel brands. Prior to being appointed as CEO, Tom held a number of executive positions at Sabre, including President, Executive Vice President and both domestic and international Senior Vice President roles. Tom led the very successful IPO of Sabre in 2014. Prior to joining Sabre, he held various management positions at American Airlines and Consolidated Freightways and has spent 29 years as an operator in the travel sector. Tom was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve on the Board of Directors of Brand USA in 2010. He was reappointed twice and ended his third term in 2017 as Chairman. Tom also served on President Barack Obama’s President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. Tom serves on the Board of Directors of Avia Solutions Group, Global Blue, and Wheels Up and is a member of the Investment Committee and the Management Committee of Certares Management LLC. Tom previously served on the Boards of Directors of Cedar Fair Entertainment, Nirvana Travel & Tourism, and Playa Resorts (NASDAQ: PLYA).

Tom received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Villanova University, where he serves on the Board of Trustees.

Henry Briance

travel leaders group certares

Henry Briance is a Senior Managing Director of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, Henry served as a Managing Director of One Equity Partners (“OEP”), where he started in 2006. While at OEP, Henry primarily focused on investments in the business services and travel sectors. Henry serves on the Boards of Directors of Marietton Developpement and Mystic Invest and is a member of the Investment Committee and the Management Committee of Certares Management LLC.

Henry received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge.

Nolan Hecht

Senior Managing Director & Head of Real Estate

travel leaders group certares

Nolan Hecht is a Senior Managing Director & Head of Real Estate at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he oversaw hotel investment (both opportunistic equity and debt origination strategies) and hotel asset management at Square Mile Capital Management. In this role, he was responsible for originating, structuring, underwriting, closing investments, and overseeing all asset management duties related to hospitality investments, including operating partner and franchise relationships. Nolan oversaw the creation and deployment of SMW Hospitality, a dedicated Hotel Fund, where he served on the Investment Committee.

Nolan is an active member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) Investment Roundtable. Nolan received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, where he serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Center for Real Estate and Finance (CREF).

Vincent Agovino

Fund Accountant

Vincent Agovino is a Fund Accountant at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked as an investment accounting analyst in the VC space where he assisted with handling all M&A transactions for Bessemer Venture Partners.

Vincent received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Iona University, LaPenta School of Business.

Chris Ahrens

travel leaders group certares

Chris Ahrens is an Advisor with Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he was a Managing Director of One Equity Partners (“OEP”). He was active in OEP’s healthcare, technology and travel industry investments. Prior to joining OEP, he worked at Goldman Sachs. Chris serves on the Board of Directors of Guardian Alarm, Internova Travel Group and Singer Vehicle Design.

Chris received his A.B. in Modern European History from Princeton University.

Anessa Amin

travel leaders group certares

Anessa Amin is an Associate at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she worked at RBC as an investment banking analyst, where she focused on equity and debt private capital transactions across a variety of sectors.

Anessa received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jisung Baek

travel leaders group certares

Jisung Baek is Controller of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he served as Controller and Chief Compliance Officer of Staple Street Capital. He previously was an Assistant Fund Controller at Avista Capital Partners, overseeing the firm’s accounting and tax, and an Assistant Vice President in the Alternative Investment division of Credit Suisse.

Jisung received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Domenico Barile

Managing Director

travel leaders group certares

Domenico is a Managing Director of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, Domenico was an investment professional at EMIP, a Milan-based consultant and advisor providing services to Elliott Management, focusing on European special situations including activism, listed equity, private equity, listed debt, private debt, and structured products. Domenico started his career at Morgan Stanley in the investment banking division and leveraged finance department, in both London and Milan, advising private equity funds and large corporates on large M&A, LBOs, equity and debt capital market transactions.

A chartered industrial engineer, Domenico graduated summa cum laude from Polytechnic University of Milan.

Michael Batt

travel leaders group certares

Michael Batt is an Advisor with Certares and the Founder and Chairman of Internova Travel Group, where he serves on the Board of Directors. Prior to joining Certares, he served as an executive with Carlson Companies (“Carlson”), where he was President of Carlson Leisure Group. He joined Carlson in 1996 and was responsible for leisure travel operations in the United States for 11 years as well as Carlson’s initial investment and subsequent sale of Thomas Cook Group in the United Kingdom.

Prior to joining Carlson, Michael was Executive Vice President, sales and marketing of Alamo Rent-A-Car (“Alamo”). Prior to Alamo, he served as Marketing Director and a member of the executive board of British Airways. Michael started his business career working for M and M Mars, enjoying a 12-year tenure with the company in various sales and brand management positions working in the United Kingdom, Spain, Africa and the Middle East.

Michael was inducted into the British Travel Industry Hall of Fame in 2014 and is a native of the United Kingdom. Michael received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Materials from the University of Wales.

Philippe Chereque

Senior Advisor

travel leaders group certares

Philippe Chereque is a Senior Advisor with Certares and serves on the Board of Directors of Voyageurs du Monde. Prior to joining Certares, Philippe was the President of GBT where he led the company’s customer-facing divisions including sales and client management, global business consulting, meetings & events, supplier relations, marketing, and technology.

Prior to GBT, Philippe was one of the founders of Amadeus Global Travel Distribution S.A. He served as Executive Vice President of Commercial at Amadeus Technology Group S.A. where he led the worldwide implementation of Amadeus Technology’s commercial strategy. Prior to that, he served as the Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, responsible for the company’s business development. Prior to founding Amadeus, Philippe worked at Air France, where he held various managerial positions in operational research, computer analysis, and passenger application software development.

Philippe received his graduate degree in Engineering from the Institut Supérieur d’Electronique de Paris. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Electronics from the University of Paris.

Steve Curts

Managing Director, Portfolio Operations

travel leaders group certares

Steve Curts is a Managing Director and oversees Portfolio Operations at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he spent four and a half years at American Express Global Business Travel. Most recently, he served as Strategic Advisor, focusing on enterprise initiatives, including governance and oversight of acquisitions and integrations. Steve previously served as Chief Strategy Officer, where he focused on the stand up of the joint venture, M&A strategy and technology transformation. From 2009 to 2013, he served as Vice President, Services Delivery at Dell Services, focusing on strategy, M&A and global delivery. Prior to Dell Services, Steve led the Commercial Solutions Group at Perot Systems. Steve serves on the Boards of Directors of Avoya Travel and Internova Travel Group.

Steve received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University.

John Dailey

travel leaders group certares

John Dailey is a Paralegal at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he was a student at Georgetown University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 2022.

Katie Erhardt

travel leaders group certares

Katie Erhardt is an Associate at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she worked at Credit Suisse as an investment banking analyst in the Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging group.

Katie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame.

Dhiren Fonseca

travel leaders group certares

Dhiren Fonseca is an Advisor with Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he was Chief Commercial Officer of Expedia, Inc. (“Expedia”) from 2012 through April 2014 and served as Expedia’s Co-President, Partner Services Group from 2009 through 2012. He previously served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy beginning in 2005 and, prior to that role, held several roles responsible for the development of external facing relationships and business development at Expedia. Prior to Expedia, Dhiren was a longtime Microsoft Corporation employee and a member of the management team responsible for creating Expedia.com in 1995, while still part of Microsoft Corporation.

Dhiren serves an independent director on the Boards of Directors of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), Diamond Resorts, HotelTonight, Rackspace, and RentPath.

Natalie Garcia

travel leaders group certares

Natalie Garcia is an Associate at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she worked as an Associate in Real Estate Equity at KKR and as an Investment Banking Analyst in J.P. Morgan’s Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging Group.

Natalie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Engineering and Economics from Dartmouth College.

Meredith Hunt

Managing Director & Associate General Counsel

travel leaders group certares

Meredith Hunt is a Managing Director & Associate General Counsel of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she began her legal career at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York, where she specialized in M&A and other corporate transactions and corporate governance matters.

Meredith received her Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School, where she graduated summa cum laude and Order of the Coif, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Commerce, Organizations and Entrepreneurship from Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude .

Amin Ismail

travel leaders group certares

Amin Ismail is a Managing Director of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked in mergers and acquisitions at American Express Global Business Travel. Amin has served in a number of executive management positions including as the CEO of Palestine Investment Fund’s real estate and hospitality investment company Amaar Group. He started his career working in leveraged finance for Bank of America and Abn Amro Bank. Amin previously served on the Boards of Directors of Nirvana Travel & Tourism.

Amin received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska, and a Master of Business Administration from University of Miami.

Drew Kaplan

travel leaders group certares

Drew Kaplan is an Associate at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked at Guggenheim as an investment banking associate in the Technology, Media & Telecommunications group.

Drew received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Matt Kasparian

Accounting Manager

travel leaders group certares

Matt Kasparian is an Accounting Manager at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked as a senior accountant at Geller Advisors, a multi-family office. Prior to that role, Matt worked at Perilune Group, a single-family office, as a senior accountant. He began his career at Demasco Sean & Jahelka, a public accounting firm.

Matt received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Accounting from Syracuse University.

Vice President

travel leaders group certares

Jane Kim is a Vice President at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she worked as a vice president at Crescent Hotels & Resorts, a premier hospitality management company, where she oversaw development and execution of growth strategies for the firm in the U.S. and Canada. Jane previously held various roles in asset management, valuation and feasibility at Proper Hospitality, Cushman & Wakefield and Hilton Hotels.

Jane received her Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia Business School and her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Hannah Kopec

Senior Associate of Capital Formation

travel leaders group certares

Hannah Kopec is a Senior Associate of Capital Formation at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she worked at PwC as a manager in the M&A deals group.

Hannah received her Bachelor of Business Administration, as well as her Masters in Accountancy, from the University of Georgia. She is a licensed CPA in the state of New York.

Michael Kusy

travel leaders group certares

Mike Kusy is a Director at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked as a vice president at Square Mile Capital, a real estate private equity fund, where he focused on the firm’s investment activity in the hospitality sector. Mike previously worked at Miller Buckfire, where he was an investment banking analyst focusing on restructuring and M&A transactions.

Mike received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance and Real Estate from Villanova University.

Tom LaMacchia

Managing Director & General Counsel

travel leaders group certares

Tom LaMacchia is a Managing Director and General Counsel of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he was the Senior Legal Counsel with the Qatar Investment Authority (“QIA”), where he advised QIA on its major international corporate and real estate investments, including its investments into American Express Global Business Travel and Travel Leaders Group. He previously was a partner at White & Case LLP in Tokyo, where he specialized in M&A transactions and investment fund formation. He began his legal career at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York. Tom is a member of the Investment Committee of Certares Management LLC.

Tom received his Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law School, where he graduated summa cum laude , and his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering at Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University.

David Lande

travel leaders group certares

David Lande is a Managing Director of Certares. Since joining Certares in 2013, he has focused his efforts on opportunities that leverage Certares’ travel distribution assets and expertise, including tour and packaged travel opportunities, hotel management companies and experiential travel businesses. He has a passion for experiential travel and an energetic focus on the growing trend in which consumers are choosing authentic experiences that are meaningful over passive vacations. David serves on the Boards of Directors of G Adventures and Gohagan & Company.

David received his Juris Doctor degree and his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Zachary Lazar

travel leaders group certares

Zachary Lazar is a Managing Director at Certares.  Zachary previously worked at Credit Suisse as an investment banking analyst, where he focused on M&A and debt and equity financings in the technology, media, entertainment and telecommunications sectors. Zach serves on the Board of Directors of Mystic Invest, Guardian Alarm, Million Air Holdings, and Wheels Up.

Zachary received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Pennsylvania.

Senior Associate

travel leaders group certares

Victor Li is a Senior Associate at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked as an Associate in hotel asset management for Starwood Capital Group. Victor previously worked as a Financial Analyst at Wells Fargo Hospitality Finance Group.

Victor received his Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

Colleen Mallick

Legal Counsel

travel leaders group certares

Colleen Mallick is Legal Counsel of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she began her legal career at Dechert LLP in Philadelphia, where she specialized in M&A and other corporate transactions and corporate governance matters.

Colleen received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she graduated cum laude, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Geneseo.

Ryan Mazzie

travel leaders group certares

Ryan Mazzie is a Senior Associate at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked at Goldman Sachs in the Financial Sponsors group.

Ryan received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Villanova University.

Alexander Meyer

travel leaders group certares

Alexander Meyer is a Vice President at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked at Deutsche Bank as an investment banking analyst, where he focused on M&A transactions in the chemicals, industrials, technology, media, entertainment and telecommunications sectors.

Alex received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Richard Moreau

travel leaders group certares

Rich is a Managing Director of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he was a Partner at Verus Investment Partners (“Verus”), a middle market private equity firm. Prior to joining Verus, he served as President of CRN Wireless (“CRN”), a national provider of monitoring and alarm communications services. Prior to joining CRN, he worked for ten years at Harvest Partners, focusing on investments in the consumer, business services and manufacturing sectors. Rich serves on the Board of Directors of G Adventures, Getaway, Gohagan & Company, and Guardian Alarm.

Rich received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University, where he double majored in Economics and Russia and East European Studies.

Michael Sale

travel leaders group certares

Michael Sale is a Managing Director at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked at Macquarie Capital as an investment banking analyst, where he focused on M&A, principal investments and debt and equity financings in the technology, media, entertainment and telecommunications sectors. Michael serves on the Boards of Directors of Gohagan & Company and Certares’ hotel management platform. He previously served on the Board of Directors of AmaWaterways.

Michael received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania

Stefano Sardo

travel leaders group certares

Stefano is a Managing Director of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, Stefano was an investment professional at EMIP, a Milan-based consultant and advisor providing services to Elliott Management, focusing on European special situations. Prior to that, Stefano was an investment analyst at investment fund DWC LLP in London where he focused on long-short strategies on listed telecom and media stocks. Stefano started his career at Goldman Sachs in London where he was an Associate in the investment banking division.

Stefano received his double MSc in International Management from Fudan University in Shanghai and Bocconi University in Milan, where he graduated summa cum laude.

Managing Director & Head of Capital Formation

travel leaders group certares

Amy Stuart is a Managing Director and Head of Capital Formation of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she was a Director at KKR in New York, where she worked on the Client & Partner Group as a product specialist focused on Americas and Asia private equity.  She began her career at Lehman Brothers in New York in its Global Natural Resources group, where she was involved in a number of merger, acquisition, and other corporate advisory transactions. Amy is a member of the Investment Committee of Certares Management LLC.

Amy received her Master of Public Accounting degree from the McCombs School of Business of The University of Texas at Austin and her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in the Honors Plan, with high honors, from The University of Texas at Austin.

Managing Director & Chief Financial Officer

travel leaders group certares

Tom Walker is a Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Grain Management. Tom has more than 20 years of industry experience including similar roles as a partner at Riverstone Holdings and as principal at the Carlyle Group. He began his career at Arthur Anderson and was previously a Certified Public Accountant. Tom is a member of the Investment Committee of Certares Management LLC.

Tom holds a degree in accounting from Binghamton University.

Justin Winkler

travel leaders group certares

Justin Winkler is a Senior Associate at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked at Citi as an investment banking analyst in the M&A group.

Justin received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business from New York University, Stern School of Business.

Kezia Wiranegara

Tax Manager

travel leaders group certares

Kezia Wiranegara is a Tax Manager at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she was a Tax Manager at Ernst & Young U.S. LLP in the Asset Wealth Management group.

Kezia received her Master in Taxation and Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy from the Zicklin School of Business at Bernard M. Baruch College. She is a Certified Public Accountant of New York State and a member of the American Institution of Certified Public Accountants.

Tax Director

travel leaders group certares

Horace Yu is a Tax Director at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he was a Tax Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in the Asset Wealth Management group from February 2016 to February 2020. He previously was a Tax Analyst at Sculptor Management (formerly known as “Och-Ziff Capital Management Group”), managing tax related matters from July 2011 to February 2016. Horace began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in January 2007.

Horace received his Masters in Taxation and Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy from the Zicklin School of Business at Bernard M. Baruch College. He is a Certified Public Accountant of New York State and a member of the American Institution of Certified Public Accountants.

Jennifer Zhao

Director of Capital Formation

travel leaders group certares

Jennifer Zhao is a Director of Capital Formation at Certares. Prior to joining Certares, she was Vice President of Investor Relations at Genstar Capital, after having spent several years in the Funding Group at TPG. Prior to TPG, she worked as an investment banking analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the Financial Sponsors group.

Jennifer received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Psychology from Dartmouth College.

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Will AmaWaterways’ New Ties to Travel Leaders Create Uneven Playing Field?

News of the purchase by investment firm Certares LP of a minority share in luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways has stirred muted concern in the travel agency community.

Last week AmaWaterways announced that New York-based Certares had been brought onboard as the cruise line’s fourth investor. Certares is majority owner of Travel Leaders Group, raising the question of whether shared ownership will disadvantage non-Travel Leaders agencies in their dealings with AmaWaterways. Certares also owns 50% of American Express Global Business Travel.

“It is a little weird to the industry and non-Travel Leaders agencies that there’s a tie between AmaWaterways and Travel Leaders,” said Ensemble co-president Libbie Rice. “I see where people have that concern.”

But Rice and other retail travel executives said they felt confident of their relationships with AmaWaterways. For their part, both the cruise line and Certares asserted that AmaWaterway’s new ties to Travel Leaders will not affect its agency partnerships.

Certares also said it had no intention of creating a vertically integrated travel company.

A valued partner “Clearly Travel Leaders is on my mind, and the parent company and what they’re doing is on my mind. But from the Ama perspective, I don’t have a deep concern. I don’t think any non-Travel Leaders agency should be concerned,” Rice said.

Kimberly Wilson-Wetty, co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel, a Virtuoso agency, shared that view. “AmaWaterways has loyal partners that extend past Travel Leaders Group and American Express Global Business Travel, and I do not see them wanting to jeopardize those relationships. I do not believe that will change because they have a new financial partner.”

Matthew D. Upchurch, chairman and CEO of Virtuoso, likewise said he didn’t expect his group’s relationship with AmaWaterways to be affected by the Certares investment.

Virtuoso has its own history of overlap with Travel Leaders Group. Travel Leaders owns Protravel International, a Virtuoso agency based in New York. Earlier this year Travel Leaders Group acquired UK-based Colletts Travel, also a Virtuoso member.

“AmaWaterways has been a valued partner since 2010. I see no reason for that to change with the Certares’ investment, any more so than it has for the Virtuoso member agencies they have acquired,” Upchurch said. “Our relationship with Ama remains as strong as ever, as does our trust in them as a partner.”

Business as usual Founded in 2002 by three families, AmaWaterways this month christened its 20 th vessel, the 156-guest AmaKristina, named for co-owner and executive vice president Kristin Karst. The cruise line also recently announced plans for its largest ship to date, a “new concept” vessel due out in 2019 that will be twice as beamy as traditional European river ships and will feature an open-water sports platform.

AmaWaterways president and co-owner Rudi Schreiner said the Certares investment “will not bring any changes to the running of AmaWaterways.”

The current leadership team of Schreiner, Karst and co-owner Gary Murphy, vice president of sales, will stay in place, “with no change to our roles, responsibilities, or authority. Certares representatives will not be taking any leadership role at the company,” Schreiner said.

Reassures agency partners The cruise line reached out to its key agency accounts last week to answer questions about its new investor. “We took the opportunity to reiterate the important role that a widespread travel agent distribution channel has played in AmaWaterways' success to date and how critical this strategy continues to be in our future growth plans,” Schreiner told Travel Market Report.

He noted that a preferred partnership agreement between AmaWaterways and Travel Leaders was in place before the Certares investment.

That partnership was in the spotlight at the recent Travel Leaders Network conference in Orlando, where member agents learned that AmaWaterways is giving them access to blocked space on more than 50 departures in 2018 and will pay them 25% commissions on those departures.

Travel Leaders Group referred all questions about the Certares-AmaWaterways deal to Certares.

The investment firm reiterated what the other key players were saying––no supplier relations will be affected by the new shared ownership. “We respect and value the partnerships that each company has across the industry and have no desire to do anything but support, grow and strengthen those relationships,” said Certares managing partner Colin Farmer

What’s ahead for Certares? Some observers wondered whether Certares’ investment in a cruise line signaled the start of a new vertically integrated travel company, along the lines of Germany-based TUI Group, whose businesses include travel agencies, online portals, tour operators, cruise lines and hotels.

Absolutely not, Farmer said. “We have no intent to consolidate our portfolio company investments into a vertically integrated travel company.” He emphasized that Certares manages each of its investment entities independently “and any commercial relationships between portfolio companies are on an arms length basis.”

That said, Certares is likely to acquire interest in other sectors of travel. “Certares is a private equity firm focused on the travel and hospitality sectors, so we are always looking for attractive investment opportunities in those segments,” Farmer said.

Douglas Quinby, senior vice president, research, for PhocusWright, observed that in the U.S., in contrast to Europe, vertical integration in travel “generally hasn’t worked out too well.”

The Certares investment in AmaWaterways “is probably a tuck-in to secure key supply in a growing segment,” Quinby speculated. “I would liken it more to Expedia and Classic, or AAA and Pleasant.” Expedia purchased Classic Custom Vacations in 2002 and the Automobile Club of Southern California purchased Pleasant Holidays in the late 1990s.

Farmer said the investment makes sense for Certares because river cruising is an attractive growth sector in leisure travel. He also said Certares was drawn to AmaWaterways because the line’s focus on the travel agency sales channel “lines up perfectly with our view of the industry.”

travel leaders group certares

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How to Sell Villas

This Newly Public $500 Million Company Is Set Up to Go Shopping for Travel Acquisitions

Dennis Schaal, Skift

August 5th, 2020 at 5:10 PM EDT

Greg O'Hara and Noam Gottesman will be shopping for a winner, but unlike early stage investors, they can hunt for a travel company with an extensive track record. In the midst of a global pandemic, this is not a done deal, but you can bet a deal will get done.

Certares founder and Liberty Tripadvisor Vice Chairman Greg O’Hara is one of two founders of Go Acquisition Corp., which executed a $500 million initial public offering  with the intent of going shopping for mergers.

Companies such as Go Acquisition, which started trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GOAC.U, go public without owning an operating company, and with the express purpose of buying one, acquiring assets, purchasing stock, or in some manner combining with an existing company.

The other founder of the so-called “blank check company” is Noam Gottesman, who co-founded GLG Partners and is the founder and managing partner of Tom’s Capital, which has investments in restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park in New York City, and the frozen food industry.

Under the rules of going public under this special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, framework, Go Acquisition was not allowed to identify targets or entertain offers until going public. Such entities generally have two years to do a deal.

If you consider Certares’ travel industry investments, then you might assume Go Acquisition could be interested in a business travel company, a river cruising outfit, a tour operator, or an online travel company. In fact, Go Acquisition stated: “The Company intends to focus its efforts in identifying a prospective target business on travel-related and travel-adjacent businesses with either all or a substantial portion of its activities in North America or Europe.”

Certares’ current investments are in travel management companies (American Express Global Business Travel in London and Nirvana Travel & Tourism in Abu Dhabi); river cruise companies (AmaWaterways in the United States and Mystic Investment Holding in Portugal); online travel-related companies and travel agencies (Liberty Tripadvisor Holdings and Travel Leaders Group/Internova Travel Group, both in the United States); and French tour operator Marietton Developpement.

In March, Certares made a $325 milliion investment in Greg Maffei’s Liberty Tripadvisor, which is the controlling shareholder of Tripadvisor. Maffei is the chairman of Tripadvisor’s board of directors and O’Hara has a board seat.

In reality, Go Acquisition could buy or invest in a variety of companies, and is likely considering a full plate of prospects, likely mostly in travel. Travel management companies are suffering because of the dearth of business travel, and river cruising is mostly grounded so this might not seem a particularly adept time to invest in either given the uncertainties about their future. But there could certainly be bargains available for the taking if you believes in the sectors’ futures.

Perhaps investing in a travel technology company, or if the founders believe hospitality will come back strong, then buying a hotel brand could be the order of the day.

Gottesman and O’Hara, who are co-CEOs, have voting control of Go Acquistion.

The company priced the offering at $10 per unit, which consists of one unit of Class A common stock and one-third of a redeemable warrant. Each whole warrant entitles the holder to purchase one share of common stock at a $11.50 per share exercise price.

The stock closed at $10 per unit, according to MarketWatch.

The real drama in the stock price likely wouldn’t occur until Go Acquisition identifies a potential merger or deal.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: acquisitions , amex , business travel , certares , ipo , mergers , river cruises , spacs , travel leaders , tripadvisor

Photo credit: The New York Stock Exchange as seen on March 1, 2013. Go Acquisition Corp. went public on August 5, 2020. Paxti Moraleda / Flickr.com

Things to Do in Monino, Russia - Monino Attractions

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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

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1. The Central Air Force Museum

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2. Church of St. George

635th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment

635-й зенитно-ракетный полк

Military Unit: 86646

Activated 1953 in Stepanshchino, Moscow Oblast - initially as the 1945th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment for Special Use and from 1955 as the 635th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment for Special Use.

1953 to 1984 equipped with 60 S-25 (SA-1) launchers:

  • Launch area: 55 15 43N, 38 32 13E (US designation: Moscow SAM site E14-1)
  • Support area: 55 16 50N, 38 32 28E
  • Guidance area: 55 16 31N, 38 30 38E

1984 converted to the S-300PT (SA-10) with three independent battalions:

  • 1st independent Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion (Bessonovo, Moscow Oblast) - 55 09 34N, 38 22 26E
  • 2nd independent Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion and HQ (Stepanshchino, Moscow Oblast) - 55 15 31N, 38 32 23E
  • 3rd independent Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion (Shcherbovo, Moscow Oblast) - 55 22 32N, 38 43 33E

Disbanded 1.5.98.

Subordination:

  • 1st Special Air Defence Corps , 1953 - 1.6.88
  • 86th Air Defence Division , 1.6.88 - 1.10.94
  • 86th Air Defence Brigade , 1.10.94 - 1.10.95
  • 86th Air Defence Division , 1.10.95 - 1.5.98

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Gagarin Cup Preview: Atlant vs. Salavat Yulaev

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Gagarin cup (khl) finals:  atlant moscow oblast vs. salavat yulaev ufa.

Much like the Elitserien Finals, we have a bit of an offense vs. defense match-up in this league Final.  While Ufa let their star top line of Alexander Radulov, Patrick Thoresen and Igor Grigorenko loose on the KHL's Western Conference, Mytischi played a more conservative style, relying on veterans such as former NHLers Jan Bulis, Oleg Petrov, and Jaroslav Obsut.  Just reaching the Finals is a testament to Atlant's disciplined style of play, as they had to knock off much more high profile teams from Yaroslavl and St. Petersburg to do so.  But while they did finish 8th in the league in points, they haven't seen the likes of Ufa, who finished 2nd. 

This series will be a challenge for the underdog, because unlike some of the other KHL teams, Ufa's top players are generally younger and in their prime.  Only Proshkin amongst regular blueliners is over 30, with the work being shared by Kirill Koltsov (28), Andrei Kuteikin (26), Miroslav Blatak (28), Maxim Kondratiev (28) and Dmitri Kalinin (30).  Oleg Tverdovsky hasn't played a lot in the playoffs to date.  Up front, while led by a fairly young top line (24-27), Ufa does have a lot of veterans in support roles:  Vyacheslav Kozlov , Viktor Kozlov , Vladimir Antipov, Sergei Zinovyev and Petr Schastlivy are all over 30.  In fact, the names of all their forwards are familiar to international and NHL fans:  Robert Nilsson , Alexander Svitov, Oleg Saprykin and Jakub Klepis round out the group, all former NHL players.

For Atlant, their veteran roster, with only one of their top six D under the age of 30 (and no top forwards under 30, either), this might be their one shot at a championship.  The team has never won either a Russian Superleague title or the Gagarin Cup, and for players like former NHLer Oleg Petrov, this is probably the last shot at the KHL's top prize.  The team got three extra days rest by winning their Conference Final in six games, and they probably needed to use it.  Atlant does have younger regulars on their roster, but they generally only play a few shifts per game, if that. 

The low event style of game for Atlant probably suits them well, but I don't know how they can manage to keep up against Ufa's speed, skill, and depth.  There is no advantage to be seen in goal, with Erik Ersberg and Konstantin Barulin posting almost identical numbers, and even in terms of recent playoff experience Ufa has them beat.  Luckily for Atlant, Ufa isn't that far away from the Moscow region, so travel shouldn't play a major role. 

I'm predicting that Ufa, winners of the last Superleague title back in 2008, will become the second team to win the Gagarin Cup, and will prevail in five games.  They have a seriously well built team that would honestly compete in the NHL.  They represent the potential of the league, while Atlant represents closer to the reality, as a team full of players who played themselves out of the NHL. 

  • Atlant @ Ufa, Friday Apr 8 (3:00 PM CET/10:00 PM EST)
  • Atlant @ Ufa, Sunday Apr 10 (1:00 PM CET/8:00 AM EST)
  • Ufa @ Atlant, Tuesday Apr 12 (5:30 PM CET/12:30 PM EST)
  • Ufa @ Atlant, Thursday Apr 14 (5:30 PM CET/12:30 PM EST)

Games 5-7 are as yet unscheduled, but every second day is the KHL standard, so expect Game 5 to be on Saturday, like an early start. 

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    Prior to joining Certares, he was the Senior Legal Counsel with the Qatar Investment Authority ("QIA"), where he advised QIA on its major international corporate and real estate investments, including its investments into American Express Global Business Travel and Travel Leaders Group.

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    The emirate of Qatar has joined the Certares-led investor group that last year agreed to acquire a 50% stake in American Express' Global Business Travel division. The agreement, announced last ...

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  8. Travel Leaders Group: Travel Weekly

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  9. Certares' Internova: Behind Its Strategy for Luxury Travel Agencies

    Dawit Habtemariam. Internova Travel Group, a network of travel agencies owned by private equity firm Certares, plans to expand its investments in the luxury space. That will help give its more ...

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  11. Is Investor Certares on the Road to Becoming a Next-Gen Travel ...

    Voyageurs du Monde is a a France-based public company that generated $33.5 million in earnings in 2019. Henry Briance, who was Certares' point person in negotiating the Voyageurs du Monde deal ...

  12. This Newly Public $500 Million Company Is Set Up to Go Shopping ...

    Dennis Schaal, Skift. Certares founder and Liberty Tripadvisor Vice Chairman Greg O'Hara is one of two founders of Go Acquisition Corp., which executed a $500 million initial public offering ...

  13. Private equity firm Certares invests in Avoya Travel

    Welcoming Certares, Jeff Anderson said the investment would help Avoya to 'capitalize on the growth opportunities we see ahead as our industry begins its strong recovery.'. Certares' other travel investments include AmaWaterways, G Adventures, Gohagan and Co., Internova Travel Group (which includes Travel Leaders Group), Mystic Invest Holding ...

  14. Certares takes $250m stake in Mystic Invest's cruise business

    AmaWaterways, Travel Leaders Group. Certares' other cruise- and travel-related investments include river operator AmaWaterways and Travel Leaders Group, a collection of prominent travel brands and travel distributors including Travel Leaders Network, Nexion, Protravel International, Tzell, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists and Colletts ...

  15. European tour operator FTI files for insolvency

    The news comes weeks after FTI announced a €125 million investment from an investor consortium led by Certares. At the time, Karl Markgraf, CEO of the FTI Group, said, "We are delighted to announce our partnership with the Certares-led Consortium. Certares is a leading investor in the global travel and tourism sector," said Markgraf.

  16. THE BEST Things to Do in Monino

    Things to Do in Monino, Russia: See Tripadvisor's 294 traveler reviews and photos of Monino tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in September. We have reviews of the best places to see in Monino. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.

  17. 635th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment

    635th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment. 635-й зенитно-ракетный полк. Military Unit: 86646. Activated 1953 in Stepanshchino, Moscow Oblast - initially as the 1945th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment for Special Use and from 1955 as the 635th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment for Special Use. 1953 to 1984 equipped with 60 S-25 (SA-1 ...

  18. Ewf b.v East West Forwarding

    EWF B.V EAST WEST FORWARDING. Edelveis, Right Entrance, 2nd Floor Davidkovskaja, 121352 Moscow, Russia. Phone: +7 495 938-99-66; Mobile: +7 495-997-0977

  19. Gagarin Cup Preview: Atlant vs. Salavat Yulaev

    Much like the Elitserien Finals, we have a bit of an offense vs. defense match-up in this league Final. While Ufa let their star top line of Alexander Radulov, Patrick Thoresen and Igor Grigorenko loose on the KHL's Western Conference, Mytischi played a more conservative style, relying on veterans such as former NHLers Jan Bulis, Oleg Petrov, and Jaroslav Obsut.