Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tour Operators

Musement Co-founder Claudio Bellinzona Leaves TUI

8 months ago

The co-founder of Musement, Claudio Bellinzona, is leaving TUI Musement. He will be taking on an advisory role with the tours and activities arm of Europe’s leading tour operator.

The company confirmed Bellinzona’s exit as chief supply officer and confirmed a new tours and activities commercial team, “focused on strategic business to business partners,” to be headed up by Nishank Gopalkrishnan, previously TUI Musement chief business officer and the team’s newly appointed as chief commercial officer.

Bellinzona leaves TUI five years after it acquired the Milan-based tours and activities startup in 2018. Peter Ulwahn, CEO of TUI Musement, confirmed Bellinzona will continue working with the TUI Musement leadership team on “various new growth opportunities.” as he commended his impact on TUI Musement’s recovery post-pandemic as well as the completed integration of Musement into TUI.

The unification of TUI Musement’s partnerships under one commercial team comes as the division generates 50% of the business’ revenues through distribution partnerships that include OTAs like Booking.com and airlines and hotels. The commercial team’s portfolio development, through API and white-label distribution, will be for TUI Collections, the company’s branded experiences, and third-party experiences.

Online Travel

Booking.com Adds Klook To Its Roster of Activities Providers

2 years ago

Booking.com expanded the geographic reach of its tours and activities offerings in Asia by entering a long-term strategic partnership with Klook, Booking.com announced Monday.

Madame Tussauds Singapore source Merlin Entertainments
The set of a Bollywood movie at Madame Tussauds Singapore. Travelers can buy tickets to this attraction and have their reservations instantly confirmed via Klook, an online travel agency that specializes in experiences. Madame Source: Merlin Entertainments

“Klook experiences are now live in over 175 cities, across over 30 markets on Booking.com, and the majority of these are available in Asia and Oceania,” Booking.com stated as it cited Klook as “the category leader for experiences in Asia.”

Booking.com is headquartered in Amsterdam, and Klook is based in Singapore.

Booking.com already had provider agreements with TUI’s Musement, based in Europe, and Tripadvisor’s Viator, which is headquartered in the U.S.

Booking.com sister company Priceline last week announced that it, too, hooked up with Musement to access tours and activities.

Online Travel

FareHarbor Acting CEO Ted Clements to Step Down

2 years ago

Ted Clements, FareHarbor’s acting CEO who served as chief operating officer for the last three years, will step down from these positions in September, Skift has learned.

A small group tour of the Vatican. Source: Viator

Staff was informed of the move Tuesday, and no replacement has been named. Clements plans to stay in Amsterdam, headquarters for sister company Booking.com, and may pursue new opportunities, according to the announcement.

Rob Ransom, senior vice president, global strategy and business development for Booking Holdings, made the internal announcement, and said he would play a more active role in FareHarbor.

FareHarbor more than doubled its revenue during the years Clements served as chief operating officer, according to the announcement.

Tours and activities are key to Booking Holdings’ connected trip strategy, which aims to provide a hassle-free travel experience throughout the journey.

Booking Holdings acquired FareHarbor, a tours and activities technology and distribution platform, in 2018 for $139 milliion net of cash acquired and $110 million in stock.

FareHarbor co-founders Lawrence Hester and brother Zachary Hester left Booking Holdings in July 2021. Max Valverde, who served as FareHarbor CEO from 2019 to 2021, likewise left Booking at that time.

FareHarbor’s strategy has evolved over the last few years, evolving from an exclusively build-your-own strategy model in the early days under Booking Holdings to include FareHarbor outsourcing some of that work to partners such as TUI’s Musement and Viator in recent years.

The changing of the guard at FareHarbor comes as Google is getting more aggressive in building its own “things to do” business with an emphasis on big attractions. Booking engines such as FareHarbor and Peek participate in Google’s offering.

Watch out for updates.