The Air Travel Software Market Continues Ascent
Air travel is increasing at a rapid clip. As more people take flight, the demand for air travel software solutions and travel management software has also grown. The emergence of power players such as Expedia Group and Booking Holdings, reflects the overall shift in the industry towards consolidation of bookings sites across the travel customer journey. Companies are increasingly expanding their offerings to hotel booking, car rental, restaurant reservation and even excursions to capitalize on higher commissions found in these businesses. Flight booking remains a strategic focus, despite its low flat-fee model, as flights tend to generate further business in the other travel segments (especially when bundled as a package deal). As a result, M&A activity in the travel and destination management spaces has exploded.
One of the most notable deals in the space during 2018 was the acquisition of Hogg Robinson Group, a corporate travel management solutions provider, by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT III) on February 2nd. The transaction valued HRG at $523.8 million and 1.2x revenue. HRG provides outsourced corporate travel management services and software for businesses globally.
The largest transaction was announced on August 10, when Amadeus IT Group disclosed that it would acquire hotel management SaaS company, TravelClick, from private equity group Thoma Bravo for $1.5 billion at 17.7x EBITDA. TravelClick provides online booking, reservations management, property marketing and business intelligence and reporting SaaS for hotel and hospitality-focused enterprises.
On March 28, TUI Group acquired the destination management business of HotelBeds for $136.5 million. This online travel distribution asset provides excursions and transfers, tours and activities, and offers the handling for cruise companies in ports globally.
Last year, on October 31, 2017, Ebix (then Delphi Information) acquired online travel booking site Via.com for $74 million. Via.com provides online travel booking and exchange services for consumers through their website and the related app.
On February 12, Travisca Solutions, a travel booking SaaS company, was acquired by Affinion Group for $10.2 million. Travisca provides online travel booking SaaS and application development services for travel agencies.
Other notable transactions include Garmin’s acquisition of flight scheduling & trip management website provider Flight Plan; the acquisition of Mezi, an AI-based personal travel assistant app, by American Express; the acquisition of Flyin.com by Cleartrip; Booking Holdings’ acquisition of FareHarbor; and TripAdvisor’s acquisition of Bokun.