There’s been a change at the top of the struggling Orbitz-owned OTA, HotelClub, where Jeremy Bellinghausen has been replaced as President by Nicholas Chu, a former MD of Expedia in Australia.  It also looks like there’s a restructure under way with recruiters calling the usual suspects in relation to two new jobs: Director of Retail Merchandising and Director of Websites and Product Strategy. 

One potential candidate reportedly received calls from several different agencies and said there appeared to be an Asian focus with the successful merchandising candidate able to be based in Sydney, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Bellinghausen, an American search marketing expert with no previous travel industry experience, was at HotelClub for a couple of years.

The company performed poorly during this time, in part due to the unforseen complexity of its migration onto the Orbitz technology platform, which had a major impact on the business.

This saw its value written down by $US50 million to zero in the 2011 Orbitz full year results.

Orbitz CEO Barney Harford recently claimed HotelClub has been performing better – “our efforts to stem the decline in our HotelClub businesses are beginning to bear fruit” – but gave gave no further detail.

Mr Chu, based in Sydney, has a low profile in the Australian travel industry, preferring to network with digital marketers during his time running Expedia Australia and New Zealand.

HotelClub runs three websites – HotelClub.com, RatesToGo.com and AsiaHotels.com.

Update: On November 29 HotelClub announced it appointed former Expedia marketer Joana Barros as Director, Regional Brand and Consumer Marketing. Barros will manage regional marketing, advertising and promotions initiatives for the HotelClub brands around the world.

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