Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Combined Company Creates Most Comprehensive Worldwide Resource for Booking Tours, Activities and Adventures Before You Go
LAS VEGAS (May 23, 2006) -- Viator (www.viator.com), the single largest online resource for tours and activities worldwide, today announced it has acquired Las Vegas-based LookTours, a leading provider of Las Vegas and other major market sightseeing tours and destination activities. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
LookTours' collection of activities will add to Viator's existing market-leading portfolio of "the things you do when you get there" that currently boasts more than 4,500 sightseeing tours, attractions and activities in 450-plus destinations in more than 75 countries. LookTours, founded in 1999, specializes in discounted activities and offers more than 1,500 sightseeing tours, adventure activities, and other entertainment, including bus, helicopter, airplane, jeep, horseback, all-terrain vehicle, kayak and raft outings as well as show tickets and wedding packages.
The significant majority of LookTours' revenue originates from regional activities in Las Vegas although the company also offers tours and activities in more than 30 other destinations, including New York, Boston, Chicago, the Hawaiian Islands, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C., as well as international markets like London, Paris and Sydney.
"This is a major move for Viator, as LookTours brings us a host of benefits, not the least of which is the leadership position in Las Vegas, one of the world's largest destination markets," said Rod Cuthbert, founder and CEO of Viator. "They have a great team, strong partnerships with local operators and a profitable business. This deal supports our shared vision to capitalize on the rapid expansion in the online tours and activities market, and will fuel our growth as a combined company with highly complementary portfolios," continued Cuthbert.
LookTours, which was named "Best Reservations Company" by Nevada Magazine in both 2005 and 2006, operates a retail website (www.looktours.com) and toll-free reservations center, 1-800-LOOKTOURS, as well as other websites and city URLs such as www.thereservationcenter.com, www.helicoptertoursUSA.com, and www.allnewyorktours.com that customize product and destination offerings.
"This is a great opportunity for LookTours and our local partners," said Steve Bell, founder and CEO of LookTours, who will join Viator's board of directors, effective immediately. "Partnering with Viator enables us to gain immediate scale and generate sustained, long-term growth. In considering potential acquirers, I was focused on long-term value. Viator proved the most viable, enduring strategic fit for the LookTours business, staff and partners."
Viator will continue to operate the LookTours and Viator brands separately, but plans to cross-utilize inventory and share best practices as appropriate. LookTours has developed strong, long-standing partnerships with several local tour operators and, as a result, has secured exclusive pricing agreements not currently available through other travel sites. To gain efficiencies and scale, Viator plans to consolidate some key operating functions such as marketing, partner development, and certain technology infrastructure and services.
The LookTours operations will remain in Las Vegas, expanding its scope to accommodate Viator in its business office and call center. Viator, which does not currently offer telephone booking capability, will gain the benefit of LookTours' expertise in running a full-service reservations and customer service call center. Viator, which was founded in 1995, currently sells directly to consumers through its website as well as through a global network of distribution affiliates and city sites, including Priceline, Opodo, AirFrance.com, Fairmont.com, SideStep, HotelClub, Sydney.com.au, and NewYorkCity.com.
"We're very excited about adding the only Las Vegas luxury van scenic tours to Viator's distribution channel and drawing in more domestic and international travelers," said Ron Kachel, president and CEO of Las Vegas-based ATV Action Tours. "We have enjoyed our successful relationship with LookTours and look forward to expanding this with Viator."
In 2005, more than 38 million people visited Las Vegas, 12 percent of whom arrived from cities outside of the U.S., according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Authority. More than 30 percent of Viator's bookings come from origins outside the U.S.
In November 2005, Viator announced it raised $6 million in Series B financing led by Carlyle Venture Partners, the U.S. venture and growth capital arm of Washington D.C.-based Carlyle Group.
Through the first quarter, Viator transactions through www.viator.com nearly doubled year-over-year to record volume levels that are continuing into the second quarter 2006.
"We are very pleased with Viator's organic growth and believe LookTours will further strengthen Viator's portfolio and performance," said Allan Thygesen, Carlyle managing director and member of Viator's board of directors. "Viator has built a broad selection of tours and activities and attracted a global consumer base, both through their consumer direct efforts and their affiliate relationships with over 3,500 travel-related websites. The LookTours acquisition cements Viator's position as the category leader in the online destination activity market."
Viator is the world's leading online resource for travel experiences – the things you do when you get there, providing access to more than 4,500 sightseeing tours, attractions and activities in 450-plus destinations in over 75 countries. Named for the Latin word for traveler, Viator is a one-stop shop to plan, research and book trip activities that meet a variety of tastes and preferences, including sightseeing tours, theater tickets, soft adventure trips, attraction passes, wine and culinary excursions, and many "off the beaten path" outings. Viator's in-house travel experts help take the guess work out of planning by hand-picking respected and trusted local operators to ensure a quality experience, value and service. Viator, founded in 1995, sells directly to consumers at www.viator.com and through its growing global network of more than 3,500 affiliates that include major hotel and airline companies, online travel agencies, city-specific sites and more. Viator is a private, venture-backed company, headquartered in San Francisco with offices in London and Sydney.
LookTours (www.LookTours.com, 1-800-LOOKTOURS), a leading provider of discounted Las Vegas destination activities, was named “Best Reservation Company” for 2005 and 2006 by Nevada Magazine. LookTours offers more than 1,500 activities, in Las Vegas as well as 30 other major destination markets including cities in the United States like Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and the Hawaiian Islands, as well as international destinations such as London, Paris and Sydney. Founded in 1999, LookTours offers a range of activities from traditional sightseeing tours to entertainment and adventure activities that include helicopter, airplane, jeep, bus, horseback, all-terrain vehicle, kayak and raft outings as well as popular show tickets and creative wedding packages. LookTours offers consumers secure and reliable reservations backed by a low-price guarantee as well as customer reviews, live webcams, maps, free activity listings, top 10 lists and travel tips.
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