Skift Take

Mergers and acquisitions in travel tech are heating up, and experts say it won't stop any time soon.

The travel tech industry is ripe for consolidation. 

That is what industry experts have been saying all year, and it seems they’re right.

There have been at least 15 acquisitions involving travel tech companies over the last two and a half months alone. 

Among them: Mews, a cloud hospitality provider, made its ninth acquisition, SITA bought an airport check-in software company, and Amadeus acquired a biometrics company for $348 million.

Investment bank AGC Partners is among those that believe merger and acquisition activity is on the rise, with more activity expected into next year. 

“The real action is yet to come,” AGC stated.

The company published an analysis on the topic in April that said the pieces are in place for more deals. Those pieces include an improving funding environment and the fact that tech private equity firms have about $300 billion to deploy, AGC said. 

In the 15 deals outlined below, nearly none of the sale prices were disclosed. That often — but not always — means it was a small deal, especially in the case of a startup buying another company.

But that’s not a surprise, as venture capitalists post-pandemic are favoring companies with strong business models. Meanwhile, startups that raised too much money during the pandemic are bending under the high exceptions from investors, and many with weak business models are closing. (That was the case for Cabana, which closed because it could not find an investor or a buyer.)

And that’s where well-funded companies can swoop in to make acqui-hires or expand tech stacks for cheap.  

AGC named several companies it believes are well-positioned to make more acquisitions, a couple of which are mentioned below: IBS Software, Guesty, Hostaway, Mews, Travelport, Tripleseat, Cvent, and Cendyn.

Amadeus, Guesty, and More

Amadeus in April acquired Vision Box for $348 million, with plans to expand its biometrics services for airports. (And in March, Amadeus acquired payments company Voxel for $123 million.)

Paris-based Travelsoft acquired four companies in May: tech companies TravelgateX, Atcore Technology, and Travel Connection Technology, as well as French travel trade publisher and events company Eventiz Media Group. Travelsoft primarily provides tech to travel agents and tour operators for selling and marketing travel packages 

Tel Aviv-based Guesty, which provides a property management system for vacation rentals, in May acquired Rentals United, which offers distribution services in the same sector. (The CEO of Guesty was on a panel at Skift’s inaugural Data and AI Summit in June.)

DerbySoft, a hotel distribution tech company, said in April that it was expanding into the airline industry through the acquisition of Pkfare

Mews Makes Its Ninth Acquisition 

Mews, the startup cloud-based property management system for independent hotels, in May said it acquired Germany-based HS3 Hotelsoftware, an on-premises property management system. 

 The Mews system is used by more than 700 hotels, apartments, hostels, and campsites in the DACH region. Mews said that 76% of its German customers are small and medium hotels.

HS3 Hotelsoftware brings more than 3,500 clients to Mews. 

“The DACH region has quickly become one of our fastest growing markets, with more independent hoteliers seeking to modernize their technology,” said Matt Welle, CEO of Mews, in a statement. “Acquiring HS3 Hotelsoftware is a significant step to help more German hoteliers onto the cloud, as we triple the number of rooms in Germany that are managed via Mews. 

Mews raised $110 million in March 2024 and $185 million in late 2022. The company’s founder, Richard Valtr, has said those funds are going in part toward growing via acquisition. 

SITA Acquires Materna IPS

SITA, the airline-owned tech provider for much of the air travel industry, in May said it is acquiring Materna IPS, the passenger check-in software for airports and airlines. This deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Materna IPS products include software for self bag-drop, check-in, and boarding.

SITA said the deal is part of a focus to improve the passenger journey process ahead of an expected two-fold increase in air traffic by 2040. 

David Lavorel, CEO of SITA, said in a statement that the deal was the organization’s “biggest acquisition ever.”

Holidu Acquires Clubrural to Expand Vacation Rental Software

Holidu, a Munich-based vacation rental booking site with operational software for hosts, in May said it acquired Madrid-based Clubrural, a vacation rental booking site for rural properties in Spain and Portugal.

That adds 28,000 vacation homes and apartments to Holidu’s portfolio of 37,000 properties. Holidu now has more than 500 employees in Europe. 

Holidu in 2022 raised $102 million to expand in Europe. 

“Such strategic acquisitions are a strong growth driver for us on the host and guest side, which gives us a growth spurt in directly managed accommodation,” said Johannes Siebers, CEO and co-founder of Holidu, in a statement.

The Access Group Acquires SHR to Expand Hotel Tech 

The Access Group, which provides operations software for hotels, in June said it acquired hotel and casino tech company SHR.

The Access Group plans to pair SHR’s products with Guestline, a property management system that The Access Group acquired last year. SHR brings 2,000 hotel clients to Guestline’s 3,000 properties.

The Access Group, based in the UK, said the deal contributes to its vision of becoming a full-service software company for independent hotels as well as national and regional chains. The company said the deal will allow it to service larger hotel groups and their more complex needs. 

Texas-based SHR’s software products include a central reservation system, booking engine, customer relationship manager, revenue management system, and digital tools for marketing and loyalty. 

The Access Group, which also provides software to more than a dozen other sectors, has more than 7,000 employees worldwide. The hospitality division offers various software products for more than 20,000 hotels, bar chains, restaurants, and leisure operators.

Navan Group Subsidiary Acquires Corporate Travel and Events Business

Navan Group, the corporate travel management company, earlier in June made its sixth acquisition in three years. 

Navan subsidiary Reed & Mackay, a corporate travel and event management company, acquired a similar business based in Italy called Regent International.

Regent International has more than 200 clients in professional services, health care, technology, media, and more.

Business Travel News Europe ranked Navan Group as the fourth-largest travel management company in Europe in 2023, with estimated sales of €2.8 billion ($3 billion) in 2022.

Three Ground Transport Software Startups Make Acquisitions 

Companies digitizing bus ticketing have seen fast growth worldwide because the sector is so behind technologically, with many operators still tracking sales with pen and paper. 

Travelier, which provides reservation platforms and operational software for intercity bus and ferry operators, in May said it had acquired DeÔnibus, an online intercity bus ticket platform based in Brazil. 

Travelier, formerly Bookaway Group, now has seven brands in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. DeÔnibus had more than 300 intercity bus operator clients in Brazil, which it said covers 80% of the country’s geography and served 30 million travelers annually. 

BuuPass, a startup digitizing intercity bus travel in Africa, in April said it acquired QuickBus, a bus ticketing company focused on Nigeria and South Africa. QuickBus brings 5,000 new routes and more than 100 bus operators to BuuPass.

Kenya-based BuuPass now offers routes 16 African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria, and Ghana. The company now has 650,000 monthly users.

Busbud, a Montreal-based platform for intercity ground transport bookings, in May said it had acquired South Africa-based Ratality, which provides revenue management software for ground travel operators.

The deal aligns with Busbud’s plans to build a full suite of software services for ground travel operators. It has been acquiring companies to expand its services for operators and consumers. Busbud now has more than 350 clients worldwide. 

365 Retail Markets Enters Hotel Sector with Acquisition of Impulsify

365 Retail Markets, a provider of retail tech, in May said it would be entering the hotel sector with the acquisition of Impulsify

Denver-based Impulsify provides software and kiosks that hotels can use to operate self-service stores for guests. The company says its tech is used in more than 1,000 hotels in the U.S.

Michigan-based 365 said its tech powers food retail spaces at corporate offices, manufacturing and distribution facilities, educational campuses, and more. 

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Tags: amadeus, business travel, guesty, holidu, mergers and acquisitions, mews, navan, online travel newsletter, sita, startups, the prompt

Photo credit: Pictured: A check-in station by Mews at a Strawberry hotel Mews

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