G Adventures, a small group adventure travel operator offering more than 700 tours in 100 countries, announced the acquisition of UK-based youth travel specialist, TruTravels. TruTravels cofounders Joe Fallon and Mark Pope, who started the company in 2012 after an “epic backpacking trip”, will continue to run TruTravels as partners and minority shareholders.
Specifically tailored for backpackers and young adults, TruTravels’ laid-back and fun-filled approach to group travel is designed to make travellers feel like they are on holiday with a bunch of mates, where one of them “just happens to know where they are going”. TruTravels’ mission is to use travel to benefit all involved – their customers, local communities, suppliers, and ‘TruCrew’ team of staff and tour guides.
While the acquisition broadens G Adventures’ reach into the youth travel sector, the company’s founder, Bruce Poon Tip, wishes to emphasise that TruTravels will remain “tru” to their own unique brand identity, style of trip delivery, and way of communicating with their customers, who predominantly fall into the 18-25 year old demographic.
“New style of fun-focussed travel”
Realising the importance to cater to the rising class of young travellers, Tip said: “Earlier this year, I realised 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.
“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.”
Same, same but different
For TruTravels’ co-founders, Joe Fallon and Mark Pope, the new partnership means achieving their dream of becoming a global operator faster and more efficiently, as they now have access to the supply chain and distribution networks G Adventures has built over the past 28 years of operation.
“We were culturally aligned”
“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. Both brands’ sales are dominated by travel agency sales and both attract travellers from a number of different countries,” says TruTravels’ co-founder, Joe Fallon.
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 said: “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.”
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, they do have plans to expand their sales team as their agency distribution network grows. As well as helping them grow this network, G Adventures will be supporting TruTravels in increasing their supply chain access, as well as with shared resourcing in areas such as technology, talent acquisition and finance.
G Adventures also acquired British brands Travelsphere, Just You, Swan Hellenic and Page & Moy in January 2017.