Travel Counsellors prioritises Holidaysplease integration over further deals

Travel Counsellors says it has “always been open” to opportunities following the first acquisition in its 30-year history, but its chief executive insists its priority is now on integrating the Holidaysplease business rather than on further deals.

Speaking following the news of the acquisition of the Birmingham-based business for an undisclosed sum on Monday, Travel Counsellors chief executive Steve Byrne said the two brands were a “cultural fit” with a shared desire for growth.

“We are still growing organically but we have always been open to these types of things if we could find the right business to partner with that fitted with Travel Counsellors. Holidaysplease has a great culture and reputation so seemed like a natural fit,” Byrne said.

“[The directors] want the business to be looked after and we will take great care of their people.

“We want to carry on growing the business. We want more people booking through our Travel Counsellors but if we can grow through attracting more people to use our platform or buying a business that shares the same values, then why not?

“It has to be the right sort of business and the timing has to be right for both parties.”

Byrne declined to comment on potential further acquisitions, insisting his focus would be on “winning the hearts and minds” of agents, franchisees and support staff, who will all be retained following the deal.

Discussing the process leading to the acquisition, he said: “Everyone knows our reputation and we knew of their reputation so these things evolve over the course of time.

“We are really focused on making a success of this and making sure we look after the Holidaysplease agents and colleagues. We need to do a great job by them and that needs to be our priority now.”

Byrne said Travel Counsellors would showcase its services and products to Holidaysplease agents and staff and would also look to benefit from the company’s lead-generation expertise.

The Holidaysplease and Holiday Franchise Company brands will be retained following the “business as usual” deal, with directors Sonia and Richard Dixon and Charles Duncombe involved in the transition “for the foreseeable future”.

Byrne also said he was confident strong relations would continue with the companies’ preferred supplier partners, adding: “The supplier mix is not massively different from the Travel Counsellors mix.”

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