WorldTravel BTI decided not to partner with eGulliver, the Internet-based travel-referral firm that shut down last week and with which WorldTravelBTI had been negotiating for several months, because the mega agency decided to focus on its own e-commerce initiatives instead.
Atlanta-based WorldTravel BTI is the third largest corporate agency and ninth largest leisure group in the U.S. EGulliver was an 18-month old company that connected travel agents and consumers in an online forum.
“It’s simply a matter of available capital,” said Danny Hood, president of WorldTravel. “EGulliver is a strong e-commerce concept, and as Internet usage grows, there is much potential in the Web-based travel referral sector. However, WorldTravel is experiencing tremendous growth and we need to keep our capital focused on some of our internal e-commerce ventures, such as WorldTravel Interactive and Corporate Fulfillment Services.”
Once it was clear that the WorldTravel partnership would not happen, eGulliver’s co-founder and CEO Deslie Webb made the decision to suspend operations. It wasn’t feasible for the company to survive on its own.
Hood said that should WorldTravel invest in outside travel ventures, it would migrate towards established organizations that specialize in business travel, or leisure organizations that offer a solid return on the investment.
WorldTravel BTI is one of the large agency groups vying with Carlson Wagonlit for the Cruise Holiday franchise as part of ByeByeNow.com’s bankruptcy proceedings.
Webb, who had dedicated the past year and a half to building her business, hopes to find a strategic partner who will be able to carry out her vision of a distributed fulfillment model for complex travel. She plans to talk to GDS whose agencies could benefit from its model as well as to travel agency franchise groups.