Larger tour operators continued, in recent weeks, to divest, acquire and consolidate. Some of this activity—that which has been publicly announced—includes the following:
—Vision Travel, a Direct Travel Company, which is one of the 10 largest travel agencies doing business in the U.S., according to the 2018 Travel Weekly Power List, has announced that it has agreed to acquire UNIGLOBE One Travel, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company said that the acquisition continues Vision Travel’s strategy to expand in key markets throughout Canada. Brian Robertson, president of Vision Travel (Ontario-West) told the trade publication TravelPulse Canada that “We believe this acquisition of Uniglobe One Travel by Vision Travel, A Direct Travel Company, will be a significant game changer in the Canadian and North American travel space.”
—UK tour operator Cox & Kings has sold its schools and activity unit, PGL for £467million ($567 million) to A consortium of investors, led by Midlothian Capital Partners, has acquired HB Education Limited, the holding company for PGL. HB Education provides residential adventure and study trips for schools, youth organizations and young people through the PGL brand, as well as educational tours for schools and further or higher education students through a variety of brands, including NST, EST, Studylink and Travelplus. The company was founded by Peter Lawrence in the late 1950s, the company initially offered canoe trips on the River Wye. It was acquired by Holidaybreak in 2007 and merged with NST before Cox & Kings acquired it in 2011.
—Adventure tour operator Exodus Travels has acquired its sister company, self-guided holiday specialist Headwater Holidays. Announcing the purchase, Exodus issued a statement noting “huge potential for growth within the self-guided market” that the deal represented. Founded in 1985, Headwater Holidays operates self-guided trips, predominantly to European destinations. Itineraries are for all levels of fitness, with walking, cycling, winter cross-country skiing and activity holidays available. Both Exodus Travels and Headwater are Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers (ATAS) members and part of the Travelopia group, the collection of specialist travel brands once owned by travel industry giant TUI, which sold the group in February of last year to KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co L.P.) a New York City-based private equity firm.
—GTA’s TravelCube, a retail brand, is rebranding under the Bedsonline name and is shifting over to the Bedsonline booking platform. The move is part of the next phase of the integration of GTA and Tourico Holidays into Bedsonline parent group Hotelbeds. The shift is being communicated to the customers of both Bedsonline, as well as to those customers and those moving over from TravelCube. Bedsonline had already announced a brand refresh with a new logo and brand identity.
—Melbourne, Australia-based Webjet has announced that it is acquiring Dubai-based travel firm Destinations of the World (DOTW). Webjet is paying private equity firm Gulf Capital $173 million for the business, and DOTW will join its WebBeds division. The addition of B2B platform DOTW will take WebBed’s hotel portfolio to more than 250,000 and expand total sales volume to more than $2 billion. DOTW has a presence across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Webjet has operations in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Singapore and Hong Kong. Its registered office is located in Melbourne. The deal is expected to complete later this month and Gulf Capital will retain a stake in Webjet.
A REMINDER: The INBOUND Report will not publish next week due to the Thanksgiving Holiday in the U.S. It will resume publishing the following week, with the Nov. 29, 2018 issue.