More movement at the tours and activities end of the industry as hospitality technology company Nor1 buys the FlexTrip distribution network.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but CEO Leith Stevens and chief operating officer Alex Kremer will be moving with the business to Nor1 as part of the deal. CTO Andy Glover is moving on to another business.
FlexTrip launched in 2011 (TLabs here) initially as a consumer-facing tours and activities metasearch service. It eventually switched to primarily being a back-end provider of products to third parties through APIs.
The company currently has around 15,000 individual products on the system and a number of a distribution deals, including a partnership with Travelport signed in late-2012 to give travel agents the chance to search and book tours and activities.
The acquisition is being touted as a major step in Nor1's strategy to provide its existing hospitality customers (large hotel chains and resorts) with a product line to guests and revenue stream.
Jason Bryant, founder and co-CEO of Nor1, says the FlexTrip system will work within its existing platforms and hand hoteliers a significant opportunity for "engaging guests in a consistent dialogue" when communicating ahead of and during a hotel stay, initially through email marketing to a guest.
"More hotels are looking for better relationships with their customers, so we think FlexTrip is complimentary to our data and technology," he adds.
Until now Nor1 has specialised mainly in providing up-selling technology to hoteliers powered by its "decision intelligence engine" known as PRIME.
The acquisition comes just a week after consumer-facing tours and activities brand SideTour was snapped up by Groupon and against the backdrop of continued interest in the sector from the likes of Expedia.
A number of tours and activities startups (some with significant levels of funding) have emerged to sit in the marketplace alongside the likes of Viator over recent years, but the scale of the distribution network and vastly different levels of technology at the supplier end of the ecosystem has meant the pace of growth has been as rapid as some initially believed.
FlexTrip's Stevens concedes that the company would probably have not have grown "as quickly as a standalone" but the acquisition by Nor1 will give it an even better chance of building out its existing vision alongside the big data capability and expertise of its new owner.
NB: Disclosure - FlexTrip COO Alex Kremer is a contributing Node to Tnooz.
NB2:Mountain biking image via Shutterstock.