Chartwell Travel owner bought by American Express GBT

Chartwell Travel owner bought by American Express GBT

Media and entertainment travel specialist acquired for undisclosed sum

The US owner of UK travel management company Chartwell Travel is being taken over by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT).

The acquisition of Ovation Travel Group for an undisclosed sum includes Lawyers Travel alongside media and entertainment travel specialist Chartwell.

Ovation has more than 700 employees and 200 independent travel advisors working for 700 clients handling 300,000 travellers a year.

Ovation Travel Group and its employees will become a division of GBT’s Global Customer Partnerships organisation, led by the same management team.

The existing Ovation Travel Group brands will remain in place.

GBT chief executive Paul Abbott said: “Since 1984, Ovation Travel Group has built a well-deserved reputation for providing leading travel management services to professional enterprises.

“In addition to the personalized service to which their clients and travellers have become accustomed, there will be new benefits that come with being part of the GBT family.”

He added: “This acquisition comes at a very difficult time for the industry, and the amazing people at GBT and Ovation Travel Group continue to operate in an uncertain environment.

“We have worked hard to protect our business and our people throughout this period. But as we address short-term challenges, we must continue to invest for the future and deliver on our long-term strategy.

“I believe this deal will enhance the collective value and service we offer clients, suppliers and partners, and will create real opportunities for growth.”

Ovation Travel Group chairman and chief executive Paul Metselaar added: “Extraordinary people and a culture of excellence have served as a solid foundation for providing our valued clients and travellers with a truly high-touch, personalised experience. These intrinsic qualities have enabled us to earn their business as their trusted travel partner for more than three decades.

“GBT’s 100 years of service excellence, its values-driven culture, and its commitment to leading the industry complement us on a global scale, giving me huge confidence in the future.”

Eric Bock, GBT global head of mergers and acquisitions, said: “Despite the pandemic, GBT continues to execute on its strategy to grow organically and through acquisitions in the US small and medium enterprise segment. This acquisition adds a very high-quality asset and business that will enhance the service and capabilities we offer customers.”