B-to-b travel media and event company Northstar Travel Media has made a move into the consumer travel market with the acquisition of Your Travel Insider, a news and information provider for travel enthusiasts.
YTI publishes about three newsletters which, says the company, reach more than 1 million subscribers—and it’s that subscriber database that was a particular attraction for Northstar.
Terms of the deal were not released, but Northstar Travel Media CEO and chairman Tom Kemp says that while there was a small outlay of cash up front, the company plans significant investment over the next three years, and there will be performance-based payouts during that timeframe, including this year.
Roy Weiss, who founded Your Travel Insider in 2003, will become group publisher and report to Bob Sullivan, executive vice president of Northstar Travel Media.
Northstar already targets the business travel industry with a variety of magazine and information brands and a group of 35 events and the deal provides the company with an instant footprint in the consumer travel market.
"More and more the travel industry is going through a number of different channels [to target consumers], online and offline, and we were missing an important channel," says Kemp. "We’re one of the few b-to-b media companies that has a natural segue into b-to-c."
Suppliers are using traditional sales channels through travel agencies and big corporate buyers, but are increasingly looking for more direct-to-consumer channels and that’s where YTI can help Northstar, says Kemp.
"The thing we really like [about the deal] is Your Travel Insider owns a large database of consumers. We have access to about 40 million records and from that they’ve been able to pull behavioral appends for about 2 million and they have about 1 million active subscribers," he says.
In other words, that information provides Northstar with both a database marketing and direct-to-consumer sales opportunity.
"Having that database gives you an advantage over having to build one from scratch and go direct to the consumer," adds Kemp. "This was a big data play."
Going forward, Kemp says that there will be a significant investment in the YTI platform, with more product spin-offs and new developer, editorial and audience development staff to be hired. The plan is to double the one million active subscribers within six months.
This is the first acquisition Northstar has made since it was acquired by the Wicks Group last July and Kemp says there are more to come. "We expect this to be the first of other direct-to-consumer acquisitions that we do," he says. "We also have a number of deals in the pipeline in b-to-b travel as well. We expect to do several deals over the next couple of years."