The Flybook Quietly Acquired by Software Holding Company Fullsteam

Although the deal closed in January, the companies kept the news under wraps as the pandemic disrupted the sector through 2020.

The Flybook, the Bend, Oregon-based reservation system provider was quietly acquired at the beginning of 2020 by Fullsteam, a holding company for providers for payments and SaaS (software-as-a-service) solutions. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition stands out from previous acquisitions among tour and activity systems. The most well known deals have been acquisitions by online travel agencies (OTAs) TripAdvisor and Booking Holdings, which acquired Bokun and FareHarbor, respectively, in 2018. German media conglomerate ProSiebenSat.1, the owner of Germany OTAs mydays and Jochen Schweizer, acquired Regiondo in 2019. 

Reservation system companies have also acquired other systems, typically to expand their product portfolio or acquire their customers. FareHarbor, TrekkSoft Group and Peek have all acquired other reservation system companies. 

Fullsteam, on the other hand, does not have much direct presence in tours, activities or travel. Its portfolio includes companies providing software into various industries, including self-storage, organization membership, healthcare and vehicle repair among other sectors. It does own HoldMyTicket, an event ticketing company, and Party Center Software, a platform for family entertainment centers. 

Craig Langer, CEO and co-founder of The Flybook, is continuing with the company.

“We were bootstrapped from the beginning, never took outside capital, and we’ve been profitable,” he said. “The acquisition provides us the backing to reinvest in new product features around payments like contactless pay and membership programs, as well as continuing to support our clients in the way we always have.” 

Asked about how the business is fairing in 2020, Langer acknowledged that their business is down along with most of the industry, but that the diversity of their client base has been a benefit during these tough times. He said Fullsteam has been supportive of The Flybook throughout the pandemic and they have been able to avoid layoffs. 

Flying Under the Radar

The Flybook has operated relatively under the radar compared to other reservation system companies, a fact Langer readily acknowledges:

“We’re a strong product and customer service company, but we haven’t focused as much on marketing.” 

Nor did Langer indicate that would change with the acquisition. “While our company will continue to grow, we do not currently have plans to scale a sales force to do the mass cold calling like others in our industry. We prefer to rely on referrals and relationships,” he said.

The Flybook’s website highlights adventure parks, ziplines, rentals, rafting, fishing, tours, and lodging among the key activity segments it serves. Langer said the company’s clients are largely in North America but was tight-lipped about the number of customers. 

Like this? register for our Newsletter to continue the conversation

Sign Up

Transactions such as the acquisition by FullSteam are typically viewed as “financial” as opposed to “strategic.” A holding firm of similar businesses can consolidate certain back-office operations, such as finance and administration, enabling the businesses to continue their growth strategy with lower costs and increased profitability. 

The pandemic and global travel restrictions are putting significant pressure on reservation system companies worldwide, especially those dependent on a transaction-based pricing model. Bokun, the TripAdvisor-owned booking system, recently announced a shift from fee-based pricing to a monthly subscription, which many industry observers suggest is a move to provide more stability and predictability in their revenues. 

The Flybook does not publicly disclose its pricing terms, but Langer said the company’s pricing model is generally a monthly fee plus a flat transactional fee, however they also customize it for each client.

The longer the pandemic and global travel lockdown persists, the more likely it is that there will be further consolidation among reservation systems.

FullSteam itself has been on an acquisition tear. The company has made at least six other acquisitions in 2020, albeit of software firms in other industries. Langer declined to comment on whether FullSteam was considering further software acquisitions in tours and activities.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Trending

already a member?

Lost your password?

NEED TO REGISTER?

Become an Arival Insider
THE ARIVAL INSIDER PRO ACCESS MEMBERSHIP; YOU GET ALL THIS TO HELP YOU ADVANCE YOUR BUSINESS.

Included in Free Membership

Included in Arival Pro Membership

The Arival on-demand video library archive
Access to the entire library of over 150 video sessions and webinars

Arival.guides
Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021.

Arival.travel articles
Topical articles about marketing, tech, operator business and operator stories in all areas of tours, activities & attractions & experiences

Job board access
Find a job from our regular listings, post a resume to the talent network and learn strategies from the job resources articles

New webinars
Helpful, instructional sessions covering subjects such as Mastering Facebook Ads, Grow Your Business and How To Work With OTAs — topics to help advance your business.

Discounts on all Arival in-person events
20% Discount on all Arival in-person events (save up to $300)* based on business type

Arival ProShield – Insurance program
Access to tailored insurance solutions by Granite Insurance is available exclusively for Arival Insider Pro Access Members. Insider Pro Access Members also have access to a suite of resources from Granite Insurance including templates, forms and other informative documents.

Insiders Pro Access member exclusive webinars
Paid membership-only webinars to deepen your understanding of important industry topics.

Job postings & talent directory
Post jobs & connect with candidates most applicable to your business.

Private roundtables to connect, learn and engage
Small, focused and intimate discussions exclusive to Arival Insider Pro Access members.

Full access to Arival’s library of in-depth reports
Up to date, deep analysis of tourism topics ranging from Self-guided Tours to Sales & Distribution Trends and Outlooks, based on the data that defines the industry.

The latest on-demand videos
Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring hot topics in tours, activities & attractions

Insider discounts in digital marketing, tech, e-learning, and more
Save money on additional tools, services and learnings you need to run your business. Exclusive to paid members.

Membership Overview
ARIVAL CODE OF CONDUCT​
CONFERENCES AND COMMUNITY SPACES​

At Arival, we believe travel can make the world a better place. Our mission is to establish and inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies in the In-destination Industry by providing opportunities to gain insight, share knowledge and build connections. To make it possible for true collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea exchange to thrive, we are committed to facilitating a welcoming and respectful community for all. This Conference Code of Conduct shares our community expectations and applies to all attendees, employees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and other participants at Arival- produced and sponsored events. We empower all participants in our community to actively engage in creating a friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.

Arival’s core values include the following, and create an expectation for conduct at our events and in online community spaces:

We demonstrate a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
We value integrity and strive to consistently interact with others in ways that are authentic, ethical, and fair.
We are dedicated to transparency, committing to clear, open and honest communication.
We actively pursue and advocate for inclusion, diversity and representation of varying cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ideas

Arival welcomes people from all cultural backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Accordingly, participants must refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, or intimidating behavior or materials that would interfere with others’ experience and participation in our community.

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or have any other concerns, notify an Arival staff member as soon as possible.

Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Arival reserves the right to refuse entry to or remove any party from any event or community space at any time when participation or behavior create a disruption or hinder the event or enjoyment of the event by other participants. All determinations are at the sole discretion of Arival, and the decision of the Arival team will be final. Severe breaches of this Conference Code of Conduct may result in disqualification from participating in future events. Individuals expelled due to violating this Conference Code of Conduct will not be eligible for a refund or other consolation.

If you have questions regarding this Conference Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us at [email protected].