Growth and new owners for specialists


Specialist tour operators and portals are in the news this week with strong growth and changes of ownership while TUI is dropping two small hotel brands.
Luxury holidays tour operator Windrose Finest Travel increased its revenues by 15% to €30 million last year while customer numbers rose to 7,200 from 5,400 in 2014. Managing director Ute Dallmeier said the growth was generated by the company’s modernised brand positioning, new customers and close cooperation with travel agents. “In particular, our group experience trips to lesser-known destinations, often accompanied by expert guides such as artists, a zoo director, scientists or other personalities, developed very well,” she said. In 2016, she expects growth in luxury cruises in particular.
German luxury hotels price comparison portal Escapio has been bought by publishing group Mairdumont which will invest in the platform. Escapio is an online metasearch portal comparing “5,000 of the best hotels worldwide” offered on major portals such as, Expedia, Trivago and other websites. Ex-owner Uwe Frers, who will remain CEO, told fvw: “With Marco Polo, Falk and Dumont Reise, Mairdumont has wide-ranging travel portals. With nine million unique users, Mairdumont Media is the largest German special interest marketer for travel and outdoor information. Escapio will integrate its transaction business in the editorial offers and generate significant additional growth.”
New Zealand specialist Kiwi Tours has a change of ownership. Founders Günter Wrede and Siegfried Müller have sold their shares to Christoph Breuer who took over as managing owner at the start of this year. He was previously a senior manager at Vietentours and VIP Sportstravel, which both specialise in trips to sporting events. Kiwi Tours, which offers holidays in New Zealand, Australia and South America, had some 3,200 customers and turnover of €10.7 million in 2015. It supplies Thomas Cook’s Australasia programme.
TUI will drop two small specialist hotel brands, Viverde and Puravida, at the end of the summer 2016 season as part of its focus on just a few core hotel brands. The properties will be re-named and integrated into other brands, with most of the Puravida hotels coming under the new TUI Blue brand.

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