6 years ago

Online travel agency BookIt seeking strategic alternatives

Online travel agency BookIt.com has retained Belstone Capital, a merchant bank and advisory firm, and is seeking “strategic alternatives”.

The goal is to “maximize the company’s ability to grow their team, make new investments, and enter new markets”, says CEO Bud Finlaw.

Often when a company mentions that it is mulling strategic alternatives, the words conjure images of asset sales and financial duress.

Not so in the case of BookIt, which “has never been stronger”, maintains Finlaw.

“In fact, we believe our performance these past four years may have actually made us both the largest and fastest growing privately held OTA in the world,” Finlaw says.

BookIt, based in Panama City, Florida, specializes in standalone hotel bookings and vacation packages in the US, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

The company’s gross bookings are on track to reach $500 million this year, which would represent a quadrupling since 2007, Finlaw says. “The big story here is that we are in play,” he adds.

BookIt informed its more than 500 employees about the development in the last few days.

The company is self-funded and has never taken any outside investment, Finlaw says, adding that the company has been profitable for the last four years.

A potential sale would be one of the strategic alternatives under consideration, as would a funding infusion.

“We just don’t have to sell if we don’t want to, or frankly do anything, unless we are convinced it will be in the best interests of BookIt’s enormous long-term potential,” Finlaw says.

Since BookIt is a closely held private company, it is difficult to confirm Finlaw’s assessment of the company’s financial condition.

One of BookIt’s differentiators is its FROM (Fast Relevant Origin Method) technology, which recommends vacation packages to consumers from their closest airport based on popular trips which other travelers are purchasing from that airport.

Most of BookIt’s site visitors still use its more traditional travel search widget, however.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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