Hotelbeds Group, which now operates the world’s largest bedbank, has expanded its reach into the transfer and activity business (TAB) with the announcement last week that it is partnering with Big Bus Tours, the world’s largest privately owned operator of open-top sightseeing tours. Following its acquisition late last year by the London-based private equity firm Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Hotelbeds has been in an expansion mode. Already the largest bedbank worldwide, five months ago Hotelbeds acquired Tourico Holidays, the world’s third largest bedbank. Then, in April, it purchased GTA, the second-largest. Both Tourico and GTA also have huge TAB inventories. The Hotelbeds-Big Bus announcement also underscores a strategic decision by Big Bus to partner with tour and travel entities in the entertainment and attractions sector. In February of last year, London-headquartered Merlin Entertainments—it is the second-largest theme park and attraction company in the world, behind only Disney—acquired a 15 percent stake in Big Bus, guaranteeing stronger cross-promotion of its products, such as Madame Tussauds and Legoland-related properties.
—Speaking of Madame Tussauds, with last year’s return of the hit movie Ghostbusters, Madame Tussauds New York has brought the cinematic experience to life like never before in a hyper-reality experience using a combination of virtual reality, real-time interactive effects, and a physical set. Clients can suit up and blast their way through a ghost-infested apartment complex with their own proton pack and gun. From the eerie underground tracks of the New York City subway to the basement of a haunted mansion to Ghostbusters Headquarters to the streets of Times Square, customers brace themselves for several spooks and even catch a ride on Ecto-2. For more information, visit: www.madametussauds.com.
—The Museum of the American Revolution, which opened in the heart of historic Philadelphia three months ago, explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art. Immersive galleries, theater experiences, and recreated historical environments bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. For more information, visit: www.amrevmuseum.org.
—The Blue Man Group has launching brand-new experiences that bring audiences of all ages deeper into the creative world of the show. Student and youth groups can enjoy new study guides and workshops focused on the music of Blue Man Group, as well as a dive into character and performance. And for corporate and adult groups, a new workshop will help them “think like a Blue Man” and take the ideas and themes from the show to foster creativity and problem-solving in the workplace (and everyday life!). For more information, contact: www.blueman.com/groupsales.
—Paddle the Florida Keys in the moonlight and experience the Florida Keys’ undersea wonders at night with Key West Paddleboard Tours’ Nightboarding™ excursions on standup paddleboards or in two-person, clear-bottom kayak utilizing I-Lumenate’s Night-Ops waterproof LED light bars to light up the water. The 3,000 lumens of white light Night-Ops light bars produce makes for some amazing sights and photos as the ocean floor comes alive at night with creatures you normally don’t see in the daytime. For more information, visit: www.keywestpaddle.com.