Northstar Travel Media Takes Majority Stake in Inntopia
The deal brings the b-to-b media company into the online bookings business.
Inntopia, a Stowe, Vermont-based online booking tool for the mountain travel and ski markets, has attracted several new investors. Chief among them is Northstar Travel Media, which will take a majority stake. Inntopia clients Aspen Skiing Company and Intrawest Holdings are also new investors.
Northstar now owns about 70 percent of Inntopia's stock, prior to management stock options.
The deal is relatively smallâ€”Inntopia's revenues are below $10 million, but growing fast, says Northstar Travel Media CEO Tom Kempâ€”but it's decidedly unique among b-to-b media companies, which, through their private equity backers, tend to buy other media or event properties. It marks Northstar's entry into e-commerce as it relates to online bookings.
Northstar Travel Media will now be able to license Inntopia's booking platform and partake in transactional revenues from travel and destination suppliers.
Inntopia lets travel sellers package a range of products, such as rentals, specific activities and tours, along with the more traditional items like flights, car rentals and hotel reservations. The company also provides its proprietary SaaS booking platform for other travel verticals, including golf, destinations, tour operators and theme parks.
"NTM has the marketing, databases, sales teams and relationships that can help Inntopia reach these new vertical segments much better than their current limited sales and marketing resources," says Kemp. "Inntopia is basically a technology company with a bunch of developers and NTM is a marketing powerhouse in the travel vertical."
The deal follows on the heels of Northstar's acquisition of Mountain Travel Symposium, an annual event that brings together tour operators, travel suppliers, resort professionals and transportation companies serving the mountain resort market.
The Inntopia deal is the fourth so far this year for Northstar, which is a portfolio company of the Wicks Group.
Trevor Crist, the founder, president and CEO of Inntopia, will retain ownership in the company as a minority investor. Inntopia has about 30 employees.