G Adventures Acquires UK Youth Specialist TruTravels
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
A Tru Travels group in Vietnam
Small group adventure operator G Adventures has acquired small group youth travel specialist, TruTravels, which is based in Surrey, United Kingdom. The company was co-founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Joe Fallon and Mark Pope, who will continue to run the business as partners and minority shareholders.
While the acquisition broadens G Adventures’ reach into the youth travel sector, the company’s founder, Bruce Poon Tip, wishes to emphasize that TruTravels will remain ‘tru’ to its own brand identity, style of trip delivery, and way of communicating with its customers, who predominantly fall into the 18-25 year old demographic.
“Earlier this year, I realized we were missing a beat with a new, grassroots-style of small group travel that was emerging for young people. When I started digging deeper into what TruTravels does, I discovered that while their ethos is closely aligned to ours, the way they communicate, and how they travel, is so different to G Adventures that we couldn’t compete,” says Poon Tip.
“For this reason, we don't want to change what TruTravels does. Joe and Mark are doing an incredible job in this space with this new style of fun-focussed travel which is rooted in meeting new people and driven by social media influences. Our aim is to give them a boost so they can do more of what they already do so well, and we welcome them to the G Adventures family of brands as a complementary business.”
For TruTravels’ co-founders, Joe Fallon and Mark Pope, the new partnership means achieving their dream of becoming a global operator more quickly and efficiently, as they now have access to the supply chain and distribution networks G Adventures has built over the past 28 years.
“While there are clear differences in the style of trips TruTravels runs, and the travellers we attract, the similarities we have with G Adventures are how we knew they were the right partners for us,” says TruTravels’ co-founder, Joe Fallon. “Both brands’ sales are dominated by travel agency sales and both attract travellers from a number of different countries.”
There was another important consideration for the duo before inking the deal, and that was whether the two companies were a fit in terms of culture and values.
Co-founder Mark Pope says the biggest draw for TruTravels was the similarity to G Adventures in terms of the importance they place on company culture, staying ‘tru’ to their values, and their joint commitment to protecting people and the planet.
“While it's obviously exciting to be partnering with the most established and experienced operator in our space, the most important thing for us in saying yes, was that we were culturally aligned. Add to that our shared passion for delivering the best customer experience imaginable, and contributing to making the world a better place, and we believe it’s a perfect match,” says Pope.
While there are no immediate changes to TruTravels’ ‘TruCrew,’ which is made up of 25 staff based in Surrey and 40 tour guides in Asia, the company does have plans to expand its sales team as its agency distribution network grows. As well as helping them grow this network, G Adventures will support TruTravels in increasing its supply chain access, as well as with shared resourcing in areas such as technology, talent acquisition and finance.
The TruTravels deal is the latest acquisition to be made by G Adventures, which also acquired British brands Travelsphere, Just You, Swan Hellenic and Page & Moy in January 2017.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.