Before joining Szallas Group in 2011 as CEO, Jozsef Szigetvari was a publisher at the Hungarian subsidiary of IDG from 2001 to 2009. He started to work at Sanoma from 2009 and managed all the transaction based digital products until 2013. As a portfolio director of Profession.hu, - Hungary's leading job portal - he was responsible for reorganising Profession.hu’s product development processes and optimising its organisation.
2007: Two Hungarian start-upers dared to dream big and created the miskolc-szallas.hu domain. Their purpose was to make all the Hungarian accommodation offers easily available and comparable on the same platform.
2009: The page was already available in 5 languages; szallas.hu domain was bought this year
2011: József Szigetvári joined Szallas.hu as CEO; 50% of the company’s ownership was bought by Sanoma; SzallasGuru.hu - focusing on coupons and discount travel offers - was launched this year
2013: Szallas.hu became the biggest domestic OTA in Hungary (based on the common research of eNET and Hungarian Hotel Monitor); reached the number of 10 000 accommodation partners; started acquiring accommodation in Croatia
2014: won Deloitte Technology Fast 50 prize in the CEE region as the fastest growing tech company
2015: the company had its new owner: 70% PortfoLion (an all-stage CEE venture capital and private equity firm, part of OTP Group) + 30% OTP Bank. The purpose of the acquisition was to strengthen the international expansion of Szallas.hu.
2016: Szallas.hu launched its own blog - presenting the best programs, recreation and entertainment opportunities to those who would like to travel
2018: the company partially acquired Travelminit.ro
2019: acquisitions continued this year, in Hungary the company acquired maiUtazás.hu group which also includes PihiPakk.hu and utazok.hu. In the Czech Republic Hotel.cz group was acquired (this group includes hotely.cz, hotel.cz, spa.cz, penzion.cz, and konfi.cz.)
2020: Travelminit integration closed, the company became 100% owner of Travelminit. Despite the COVID, the company’s financial results were even better this year than it was in 2019.
2022: One of the biggest and most significant Central European digital acquisitions in the tourism sector in recent years has been closed: Polish company, Wirtualna Polska acquired Szallas Group for EUR 82 million.
Szallas Group now operates the largest domestic travel portals in the CEE region together with its 500 employees in 5 different countries.
Tuesday March 28th
The Explosive Growth and Exit Story of the Szallas Group, the Region’s Largest OTA
CEO, Szallas Group
In Conversation with: Uli Pillau
Founder & CEO, Apaleo GmbH