Viator acquires LookTours

Viator is acquiring Las Vegas-based LookTours. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
        LookTours’ collection of activities will add to Viator’s portfolio of “the things you do when you get there” that currently boasts more than 4,500 sightseeing tours, attractions and activities in 450-plus destinations in more than 75 countries.  LookTours, founded in 1999, specializes in discounted activities and offers more than 1,500 sightseeing tours, adventure activities, and other entertainment, including bus, helicopter, airplane, jeep, horseback, all-terrain vehicle, kayak and raft outings as well as show tickets and wedding packages.

“This is a major move for Viator, as LookTours brings us a host of benefits, not the least of which is the leadership position in Las Vegas, one of the world’s largest destination markets,” said Rod Cuthbert, founder and CEO of Viator.  “They have a great team, strong partnerships with local operators and a profitable business.  This deal supports our shared vision to capitalize on the rapid expansion in the online tours and activities market, and will fuel our growth as a combined company with highly complementary portfolios,” continued Cuthbert.
“This is a great opportunity for LookTours and our local partners,” said Steve Bell, founder and CEO of LookTours, who will join Viator’s board of directors, effective immediately.  “Partnering with Viator enables us to gain immediate scale and generate sustained, long-term growth.  In considering potential acquirers, I was focused on long-term value. Viator proved the most viable, enduring strategic fit for the LookTours business, staff and partners.”
Viator will continue to operate the LookTours and Viator brands separately, but plans to cross-utilize inventory and share best practices as appropriate. LookTours has developed strong, long-standing partnerships with several local tour operators and, as a result, has secured exclusive pricing agreements not currently available through other travel sites.  To gain efficiencies and scale, Viator plans to consolidate some key operating functions such as marketing, partner development, and certain technology infrastructure and services.
The LookTours operations will remain in Las Vegas, expanding its scope to accommodate Viator in its business office and call center.  Viator, which does not currently offer telephone booking capability, will gain the benefit of LookTours’ expertise in running a full-service reservations and customer service call center.  Viator, which was founded in 1995, currently sells directly to consumers through its website as well as through a global network of distribution affiliates and city sites, including Priceline, Opodo, AirFrance.com, Fairmont.com, SideStep, HotelClub, Sydney.com.au, and NewYorkCity.com.
“We’re very excited about adding the only Las Vegas luxury van scenic tours to Viator’s distribution channel and drawing in more domestic and international travelers,” said Ron Kachel, president and CEO of Las Vegas-based ATV Action Tours.  “We have enjoyed our successful relationship with LookTours and look forward to expanding this with Viator.”
In 2005, more than 38 million people visited Las Vegas, 12 percent of whom arrived from cities outside of the U.S., according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority.  More than 30 percent of Viator’s bookings come from origins outside the U.S.
In November 2005, Viator announced it raised $6 million in Series B financing led by Carlyle Venture Partners, the U.S. venture and growth capital arm of Washington D.C.-based Carlyle Group.
Through the first quarter, Viator transactions through www.viator.com nearly doubled year-over-year to record volume levels that are continuing into the second quarter 2006.
“We are very pleased with Viator’s organic growth and believe LookTours will further strengthen Viator’s portfolio and performance,” said Allan Thygesen, Carlyle managing director and member of Viator’s board of directors.  “Viator has built a broad selection of tours and activities and attracted a global consumer base, both through their consumer direct efforts and their affiliate relationships with over 3,500 travel-related websites. The LookTours acquisition cements Viator’s position as the category leader in the online destination activity market.”
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