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‘Grow fast or die slow’ is a startup mantra that a lot of fast growing software companies have lived by. Booking Holdings (formerly Priceline.com), a company of Dutch origin and world’s leading provider of online travel repeatedly bought growth in the past by purchasing famous travel technology brands. Booking.com, Kayak, Rentalcars.com, and OpenTable are its noteworthy acquisitions.
The company announced recently that it will acquire FareHarbor, a Hawaii headquartered, U.S-based local activities and experiences booking software provider for an undisclosed sum. As a part of the acquisition, FareHarbor will continue to operate as an independent company.
Why acquire FareHarbor?
Bigger companies often use acquisitions as a tool to accelerate revenue growth. Booking Holdings’ story is no different as it finds the next growth lever.
In the travel technology marketplace, local experiences and attractions are still largely managed offline. This is where FareHarbor created a fast-growth niche by serving 5000+ customers in the US alone from mom-and-pop kayak rental shops to the New York City-based sightseeing tours. By October 2017, the company was on its way to post €41M (US$50M) in revenues.
This sounded like an attractive target for acquisition and that’s why Booking Holdings made the move. The acquisition will also help Booking Holdings become a full-service travel tech solution. Booking.com’s leadership realizes the competitive advantage it will get by acquiring FareHarbor.
“FareHarbor’s technology allows local tours and attractions to easily bring their businesses online. We see an immense opportunity to leverage this technology to bring more local experiences online, benefitting the entire global travel ecosystem for both consumers and local businesses by allowing them to connect instantly through a seamless digital experience,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com.
5 Fast facts about Booking Holdings
Those who have been out of sync with what the travel technology group has been up to in past few years, here’s a quick roundup of fast facts about Booking Holdings:
#1 Priceline changed its name to Booking Holdings
During September 2004 to July 2005, Priceline.com bought two leading European brands namely hotel booking site Active Hotels and Booking.com. Booking.com got more global name recognition than Priceline.com and helped Priceline increase the profits of its international hotel booking business. Hence in 2018, Priceline officially announced that it has changed its name to Booking Holdings.
#2 Booking.com also bought eBuddy
In Dec 2013, Booking.com entered into an ‘acquihire’ agreement with web messaging startup eBuddy meaning that the latter’s employees joined Booking.com along with the intellectual property eBuddy owned. At the time of its acquisition, the Dutch software company was a nine-years-old company and had raised north of €11M in investor funding.
#3 PriceMatch became a part of Booking Suites
In May 2015, PriceMatch, a French hotel revenue management software became a part of BookingSuite, a division of Booking.com (an operating business of The Priceline Group). Priceline did not disclose the amount it paid to acquire PriceMatch.
#4 BookingGo: Rentalcars joined Booking.com
In Dec 2017, Rentalcars.com, a subsidiary brand of Priceline.com joined Booking.com to create ‘BookingGo’ as a ground transport business unit of Booking.com. Rentalcars, previously known as ‘TravelJigsaw’ was founded in 2004 and was acquired by Priceline Group in 2010.
#5 Booking.com bought Evature in 2017
In Sep 2017, Booking.com made another acqui-hire deal this time with a Tel-Aviv-based software company called Evature. The latter used to make chatbot-related technologies for hotels, airlines, travel agencies, and airports. At the time of its acquisition, Evature had $5M in funding.
These kinds of frequent acquisitions have helped Booking Holdings on its way to growth and revenue gains. It appears the company wants to own the whole experience from booking a hotel and visiting local attractions to having a seat reserved in a restaurant. In fact, as per insiders, the company is working on its plan to become the global experience marketplace.
For more updates, stay tuned to Silicon Canals.