Travel Counsellors, the UK and Ireland’s largest and fast-growing technology platform for travel entrepreneurs, has acquired Holidaysplease, a network of specialist travel advisors, as the company continues to report significant growth and its focus on supporting and growing its own community of travel business owners.
Birmingham-based Holidaysplease is an award-winning travel company with approximately 100 home-working travel experts, 50 franchisees, and around 50 employees, and shares Travel Counsellors’ people led values and customer first business model.
The acquisition further supports Travel Counsellors’ focus on empowering and connecting nearly 2,000 travel professionals in six countries to run and scale their own businesses and provide an exceptional level of care to their customers by leveraging its personal, digital platform and global community.
The move will enable the Holidaysplease homeworker and franchisee communities to continue running their businesses, supported by its current directors, wider leadership team and support staff.
It will create opportunities for all to benefit from being part of the wider Travel Counsellors community and will see the businesses working collaboratively to build on their collective success, expertise, and knowledge.
Travel Counsellors operates across six countries (UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, and the UAE) and employs 300 people in its UK headquarters and overseas offices. The Company provides a high touch, digitally enabled platform, that enables and empowers business owners to harness innovative and constantly evolving tools and technology to build their businesses in a way that suits them, with limitless potential and scale. This is underpinned by the knowledge and power of a global community and strong people first culture.
The deal marks Travel Counsellors’ first acquisition in its near 30-year history and comes hot off the heels of record trading months in both January and February 2023 with a total of more than £200m of sales.
This performance has been underpinned by very strong consumer demand for top selling destinations such as the USA, Spain, Greece, UAE, and the Maldives, with passenger numbers up by 43% this year to date compared with last year and 21% higher than in 2019.
January 2023’s sales performance represented a 50% increase on the January prior to the pandemic and meant the company traded 65% up on pre-pandemic levels across the first quarter of its new financial year (which runs across the three months to the end of January).
Steve Byrne, CEO of Travel Counsellors, said: “We are delighted to have acquired such a highly regarded and successful business, finding a company that is both culturally and strategically aligned to our people led values and relentless focus on customer care. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the entire Holidaysplease community; we are extremely excited at what this combination will mean for both businesses, our communities of travel experts, and our customers.
“We are incredibly passionate and focused on building a community of the very best travel entrepreneurs who are empowered by our platform to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Both businesses share incredibly similar cultures and this is clearly reflected in both brands’ excellent customer feedback and ratings, including consistently achieving 5-star ‘Excellent’ ratings on Trustpilot.“
“Both businesses share outstanding momentum having each delivered exceptional growth in 2022 as well as record-breaking performances in January 2023. I am confident that this combination will only serve to strengthen both business’ momentum and offers a safe, secure, and exciting future for all within the community,” Mr Byrne said.
Cathy Burke, MD of Travel Counsellors in Ireland, said: “This is such exciting news, not only for the business in the UK, but for all the countries where we are based, including Ireland. It’s a positive message for the travel trade and wider community. Our business has been evolving over the past number of years and we have some great plans for future growth.”