A trend apparent in the tour and travel industry throughout Europe has continued apace during the past six weeks. The one common denominator to the activity seems to have larger travel sellers and suppliers acquiring smaller companies in order to fill a niche market segment or to add the same to their portfolios. Here are several examples based on recent activity on the tour and travel industry market place:
- The TUI Group has strengthened its position in the excursions, tours and activities business, as the world’s leading tourism group acquired Italian technology start-up Musement.TUI Group is already one of the leading providers in this market through its Spanish subsidiary TUI Destination Experiences. The acquisition will allow TUI to grow this high-margin segment, to expand its portfolio of travel experience products and to better customize them for clients and potential clients.
Founded just five years ago, Musement has become one of the leading online platforms for activities, tours and excursions. The Italian start-up currently offers travelers some 35,000 products in 1,100 cities around the world. Its collection ranges from admission tickets for museums, events and attractions via guided tours all the way to boat and bicycle tours. Musement has 130 employees and one million users.
The unit will initially be managed as an independent unit within TUI Destination Experiences.
TUI Destination Experiences is one of TUI Group’s three growth areas, along with cruises and hotels & resorts. The company had acquired the unit from Hotelbeds last March. TUI Destination Experiences’ portfolio primarily comprises excursions, tours and activities in all major travel markets worldwide.
- Dubai-based Dnata, whose portfolio of products includes provider of ground handling, cargo, travel and flight catering services for 300 airline customers in six continents, has acquired German tour operator Tropo. Dnata is part of the Emirates Group; its Emirates Airlines is the largest carrier in the Middle East. Tropo provides low-cost travel packages, last-minute holidays and hotel reservations in destinations such as Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Greece and Dubai. Dnata purchased Tropo from German entertainment company ProSiebenSat.1 Group, which has held a majority stake in it since 2012. The purchase agreement also includes TV media worth several million euros for 2018 and 2019. Dnata also owns the UK-based online travel agency Travel Republic.
- Frosch Travel, which is headquartered in both Houston and New York, and was ranked as No. 15 in Travel Weekly’s2018 Power List of the largest travel agencies doing business in the U.S.—it has more than $2 billion in sales last year—has acquired 50 percent of Corporate Travel Management (CTM), a major Irish firm with locations in Cork, Shannon and Westport. Founded in 2000, CTM says the investment offers an advanced suite of technology, including the addition of mobile applications and comprehensive passenger tracking.