7 years ago

TravelStart sale to eTRAVELi triggers major Scandinavian power shift

Significant moves in Scandinavian online travel with news that TravelStart has sold its European business to Swedish rival eTRAVELi, a consortium of web-based travel brands.

TravelStart founder Stephan Ekbergh will retain the rights to the global brand, including the South African division of the company, and continue to operate the business in Africa with a view to expanding in other emerging markets such as the Middle East.

The undisclosed deal gives the eTRAVELi group a major presence in the Nordic market through its wide portfolio of consumers brands including TravelStart, FlyBillet, Seat24 and GoToGate.

It is estimated the acquisition will land eTRAVELi a 30% share of the marketplace.

Most importantly for eTRAVELi it will have improved its bargaining hand with the increasingly powerful airlines in the Scandinavian region.

Ekbergh will run the global TravelStart business from Cape Town. He says: “We want to be the undisputed leaders in continental Africa and Middle East. This will also give us a chance to develop next generation travel technology.”

The former-MrJet founder created TravelStart in 1999 and grew the business to establish it in 11 markets including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, South Africa, Holland and Finland.

UPDATE: Ekbergh has posted a personal account of his reason to sell the Nordic elements of the TravelStart business, including this intriguing segment:

“Looking back at old business plans I see that we had set out to have a 10% online market share in the Nordics and we achieved 11%, according to Phocuswright. I am NEVER going to make that kind of stupid plan again. If we can’t have 70% I’m not even going to bother going into a new market.”

Full Disclose: TravelStart founder Stephan Ekbergh is a contributor to Tnooz.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in 2017.



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