Tours and attractions distribution specialist Holibob has acquired activities content and marketing startup TourismSolved.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
TourismSolved was launched just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help tours and attraction operators drive more bookings to their websites through its content management system and marketing platform.
The company developed what it calls a success-based marketing model where T&A operators pay a share of revenue on direct bookings.
Robin Harnish, co-founder and CEO of TourismSolved, says: “When we met Holibob it was clear we shared a vision and passion for helping the industry accelerate the ability for travelers to book their experiences, activities and tours online, mobile phone and last-minute.
"It’s one of the last parts of the industry to really come online so with our focus on the operators and Holibob’s focus on the brands and the destinations, it was really a natural fit because those same technologies and capabilities are needed to help all three of those partners.”
Harnish will continue to lead TourismSolved’s existing business as well as assume the role of chief operating officer of Holibob.
Holibob co-founder and CEO Craig Everett says the experience the TourismSolved team brought to the deal was also a huge factor.
Harnish was formerly VP or marketing at Viator/Tripadvisor Experiences while Jeff Lewis was chief technology officer at Viator, Andrew Aley was head of EMEA supply at Viator and Michael Lattig was head of brand marketing for Viator/Tripadvisor Experiences.
Lewis will now look after innovative technology projects and industry engagement for Holibob, Aley will help the company increase direct supplier relationships and Lattig will be responsible for brand and marketing.
Further T&A industry veterans Stephen Joyce, former CEO of Rezgo, and Kate Cornell, former head of content for Viator/Tripadvisor Experiences, will also help Holibob become “the most effective and innovative distribution platform for tours and attractions globally” according to a statement.
Everett says: “For us, as we grow, having a deep understanding of the challenges that this market faces is absolutely key to being able to move forward with a decent amount of velocity. It’s very difficult to find great talent in this market and this group of people have been fundamental to some of the basic technology that has been built in this space over the past couple of decades.”
Holibob believes its Software-as-a-Service and distribution capabilities combined with the TourismSolved success-based marketing model will position it “transform the experiences industry.”
Everett adds that the company remains focused on the experience for consumers when seeking out things to do on a trip
“It is all about finding the right product for the consumer at the right time and trying to understand who that consumer is, when they’re going, why they’re going and who they’re going with, and based on this, find a way of putting it on their mobile phone because 60% of experiences are bought within 72 hours of consuming that so it’s really late on in the consumer journey and that’s why the b2b angle makes so much sense."