International Cruise & Excursion (ICE) Gallery, provider of cruises to the Vacation Ownership industry, has acquired Bid4Vacations.com
, one of the pioneers of the online vacation auction market, in an agreement designed to create comprehensive `online vacation auction capability` for both companies` constituents.
According to John Rowley, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICE Gallery
, this acquisition will initiate a new phase in the vacation ownership industry-bringing consumers unfamiliar with the benefits of vacation ownership to the industry through the combination of Bid4Vacations` online auction site and ICE Gallery, adding the advantage of online vacation auctions to its current Membership benefits.
Bid4Vacations acquisition also restructures ICE Gallery`s relationship as the fulfillment operation for OurVacationStore.com. As part of the agreement, all Bid4Vacations technology and intellectual property assets were sold to OurVacationStore.com (OVS). OVS will, in turn, use the auction technology to add another dimension to its popular private-branded, online e-Commerce travel portals for its Affiliated Resort and non-travel based clientele, including ICE Gallery and its millions of members.
The acquisition comes at a time when the Internet is being recognized as a popular travel provider, with more than 35 percent of Americans using the Internet to plan their vacations and more than 38 percent booking online, according to a 2002 study by American Express. This acquisition will allow ICE Gallery to reach a large percentage of that growing market as a major e-Commerce travel provider in the boutique and specialty markets. ICE Gallery will use Bid4Vacations innovative auction technology to provide all-inclusive cruises, luxury resort destinations and incredible experiential vacation opportunities to its many Affiliated Resort partners, as well as its non-leisure industry partners such as the HumanaValues program and the Ford Destination Rewards benefit package.
“This acquisition will provide our members the added benefit of online auctions which might allow them to visit a place they felt was previously out of reach,” says John Rowley, President and CEO of ICE Gallery. “With our relationship with OurVacationStore.com and now the addition of Bid4Vacations` technology, we have moved past our original mission of providing cruise vacations to the vacation ownership industry. Now, we offer comprehensive e-Commerce web sites, marketing programs and lead generation infrastructure that provide advantages for our resort partners and instant benefit programs for our non-leisure industry partners.”
“We are very excited to join the ICE Gallery team, they are a great fit for Bid4Vacations,” commented Matt Garton, President for Bid4Vacations. “ICE Gallery`s reputation for customer service, high quality resorts and thousands of cruise itineraries will be well received by the millions of Bid4Vacations` subscribers. And I`m sure ICE Gallery Members will enjoy buying through the auction format-it`s a fun and exciting way to purchase a vacation.”
Bid4Vacations will use ICE Gallery`s current processing center and yield management team to itemize auction items and build a wide range of vacation options on which their membership can bid. Working with an established staff of experienced and competent travel technology and operations employees, Bid4Vacations is now utilizing the ICE Gallery products to build new features into their current site and offer the Bid4Vacations members more vacation opportunities than ever before. “We are already experiencing a steady and dramatic increase in sales since joining the ICE Gallery team,” said Garton, “Our vacations are more competitive now than ever and our audience is responding to unique offers that really meet their needs.”
Both companies are now engaged on an aggressive expansion plan to position Bid4Vacations as one of the largest and most unique e-commerce travel companies. Bid4Vacations is already using ICE Gallery`s “Branded” call center located in Phoenix to service the Bid4Vacations shoppers and facilitate the growth.