It was yet another busy year for the travel industry. As we all know there are possibly thousands of reasons as to why do we all travel, the industry has something or the other to offer to every kind of traveler. Some travel to have an experience of places that seem to be truly invigorating, some think travelling creates lasting relationship with the world, some believe that it develops skills you never knew you possessed, some find it interesting to learn new languages, some seek utmost adventure in travelling, some get to learn the perspective of life, some visit places for education, some travelers thrive on a challenge in trying new and undiscovered things, some travelers live their dreams by visiting their dream destinations, some prove themselves they can, and so on….
Therefore, when this industry witnesses such an influx in the number of travelers every year, it definitely sees alterations in the trends and business strategies. There have been quite a few acquisitions in 2013 that have taken the industry on different standards altogether. Most significant is that of a deal acquired by Ibibo and TripAdvisor.
Ibibo bought redBus in one of the biggest overseas internet deals of the year. The giant adds redBus to its existing travel brands comprising of Goibibo.com, the online travel aggregator, and TravelBoutiqueOnline, an online podium that caters to ample of small and medium sized travel agents. redBus will continue as self-regulating entity and Phanindra Sama and Charan Padmaraju, who created the apex bus ticketing service seven years back and together held 18.2% share in it before it was sold, will stick to their roles, Sama as CEO and Padmaraju as the one taking care of the process of developing new products.
In a never-ending acquisition spree, TripAdvisor spent $34.8 million net of cash in 2013, claiming to be its busiest year in monetary terms since 2010, when it was still a part of Expedia Inc. The six acquisitions TripAdvisor made in 2013 were for TinyPost (a photo app acquired in March), Jetsetter (flash sales acquired in April), CruiseWise (cruise booking acquired in May), Niumba (vacation rentals in Spain acquired in May), and GateGuru (real-time travel info App on airports, weather, and flights acquired in June) and Oyster.com. This also signifies that some important collaboration are taking place in the travel start-up sector.
Another major point of discussion here is about the online travel search business, which is consolidating, as two of the biggest online travel agencies, Priceline.com and Expedia.com, buy smaller search engines. In addition to this, Bjorn Hanson, a hospitality expert states that mergers would enable customers making better price comparisons. However, many industry analysts said that this was not expected of either Priceline, which is buying the airline and hotel search engine Kayak, or Expedia, which acquired the German hotel search site Trivago, to disturb the quintessential model of search engines: to be visible to the consumer as much as it can be.
Next in the list is- Groupon. The big shot has acquired travel app Blink to offer last-minute European vacations making it economic. Blink is based in Madrid, Spain, and offers deals at more than 2,000 hotels in eight European countries. Groupon announces that the new acquisition will be placed with Groupon Getaways, the domain of its vacation deals offering flight, hotel, tours, and package money-off.
Another Russian travel portal Travel.ru has been acquired by the company in service of Russia’s key hotel e-commerce business, Oktogo. American Express and Apple Leisure Group have agreed to a deal where Apple Leisure Group will take over American Express’ global tour operator business, also the brand Travel Impressions. According to this agreement, Travel Impressions would be a chosen supplier and certify the American Express Vacations brand to maintain the exclusivity of vacation products and services.
Following the list of travel industry’s acquisitions in 2013, an apex global travel search site Skyscanner has acquired Fogg, a Barcelona-based organization involved with the business of making online hotel search easier and rapid. Webjet is done with its acquisition of Zuji. In addition to all these fore mentioned important deals, one of the most intrinsic is also of Lonely Planet. After seven months got over since the time of its sale by the BBC, Lonely Planet took its first acquisition to the point of successful closure by taking over the travel planning startup TouristEye. TouristEye co-founder Ariel Camus says: “As entrepreneurs and travelers it’s a dream come true to become part of Lonely Planet. It’s the perfect combination of humble beginnings, an amazing brand and exciting challenges that await us.”
In the travel industry, these acquisitions stand as the factors driving growth and innovating with the travel and hospitality services. This requires more of leadership and dynamic approach to further cement the industry. This would deliver the great value to our customers, thus making the segment stronger and sustained.
As a successful Head of Business Development in India’s leading travel company, Tour My India, Pawan Kotiyal has set high work standards. Through his dedication and hard work he has become an important milestone in growth of the company. Beside leading his team and putting his best at work, Pawan is also an avid traveller, who likes to trudge to far-flung and lesser-explored destinations in India. Trekking and photography keeps him busy while he is out exploring the unknown destinations. He also likes to pen his travelling experience in order to help those with similar interest in travelling, trekking and photography. He can be easily reached at Google+, Facebook and Linkedin.