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G Adventures Acquires TruTravels

Story by G Adventures

Posted: December 4, 2018
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U.K.-based TruTravels will retain its leadership and brand identity, with focus on Gen-Z and young millennial travelers

Boston, MA -- Leading small group adventure operator and social enterprise G Adventures has upped its investment in youth travel with the acquisition of small group youth travel specialist TruTravels, a tour operator based in Surrey, United Kingdom that was co-founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Joe Fallon and Mark Pope. The two co-founders will continue to run the company as partners and minority shareholders, and gain access to G Adventures’ global supply chain and distribution networks.

TruTravels began its tour guiding business running one trip in Thailand five years ago. Today, it hosts 22 different small group trips in seven countries across Southeast Asia, including: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Indonesia.

G Adventures founder and owner Bruce Poon Tip emphasizes that, while the acquisition broadens G Adventures’ reach into the youth travel sector, TruTravels will remain true to its unique brand identity, style of trip delivery, and ways of communicating with its customers, who predominantly fall into the 18-25 year old age group.

“As I was studying youth market trends earlier this year, I realized we were missing opportunities around a playful, grassroots-style of small group travel that is gaining steam among 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 are so distinct from G Adventures’ that we couldn’t directly compete with them. We would rather work together.

“I want to emphasize that Joe and Mark are doing an incredible job within this niche of youthful- and fun-focused travel, which is rooted in meeting new people and driven by social media. I have no desire to change what they’re doing. Instead, our aim is to give TruTravels a boost so they can do even more for young millennial and Gen Z travelers who are eager to experience the world together and make a difference. We welcome them into the G Adventures family of brands as a complementary business,” said Poon Tip.

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 that G Adventures has built over the past 28+ years of operation.

TruTravels’ co-founder Joe Fallon said, “While there are clear differences in the style of trips we run and the kinds of travelers we attract, the strong similarities we share with G Adventures helped us feel confident that they were the right partners for our next stage of growth. Both brands’ sales are powered, in great part, by travel agency sales and both attract travelers from a range of different countries.”

There was another important consideration for the companies before inking the deal, and that was whether the two companies were a fit in terms of culture and values.  

Co-founder Mark Pope added, “It is truly exciting to be partnering with the most established and experienced operator in our space. That said, the most important thing for us in saying yes was that our brands are 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 we have a perfect match.”

While there are no immediate changes to TruTravels’ ‘TruCrew’, which includes 25 staff based in southwest London plus 40 tour guides across Asia, they do have plans to expand their sales team as their agency distribution network grows. G Adventures will be supporting TruTravels in extending their 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.