KPS

Acquisition Opportunity

Fleetway

Hilco Streambank is seeking offers to acquire the intellectual property and other assets of Fleetway, a multi-award-winning global tour operator.

BID DEADLINE

Wednesday 5 August 2020 @ 2pm BST

Steven Sherry and David Baxendale, both of PwC LLP, as the Joint Administrators of Fleetway Travel Limited (in Administration) and Fleetway Aviation Limited (in Administration) (“Fleetway” or the “Companies”) have appointed Hilco Streambank to actively seek interested parties with regards to the Companies’ intellectual property and other assets.

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Business Background

Fleetway is a leading technology-led provider of online travel deals which has operated for over 45 years. The Fleetway brand is well-established and highly regarded.

Fleetway specialises in package holidays, sourcing bespoke holidays at competitive prices. The Companies create and deliver holiday packages both online and via travel experts to UK and international consumers. The product range spanned a range of holidays from city breaks to all-inclusive packages to various short and long-haul destinations. Fleetway has built strong relationships with numerous hotels, airlines and other suppliers. Fleetway served over 60,000 holidaymakers per year. Whilst the focus is the UK market, increasing international growth has been achieved (particularly in North America).

Fleetway has a strong online presence. Since pioneering its own online booking platform, the Companies have driven significant online sales. The Companies work with a number of travel advertisers, aggregators, communities and deal platforms in addition to advertising products across its own marketing platforms.

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Fleetway launched an "Exclusives Division" in 2018 to offer exclusive value deals through a B2B2C model selling product through third party distribution channels, as well as a B2C "Holiday Division" that offers a broad range of up market hotel products packaged to suit customer requirements which are sold through Fleetway’s website and direct marketing activity. Considerable investment has also been made in the development of Fleetway’s proprietary “TravelSmart” technology platform. TravelSmart is a website booking engine that provides online reservation technology for packaged holidays. TravelSmart provides a web-based reservation and fulfilment platform to the Fleetway website. It also integrates seamlessly with partner websites, having been designed to work with multiple partners that share deals constructed by the Companies’ operations team, enabling them to monetise their web traffic by tapping into Fleetway’s expertise at retailing and delivering holidays. This disruptive technology-led offering provides significant growth opportunities as a sophisticated distribution platform for travel operators.

In the financial year ending 31 October 2019, Fleetway Travel Limited (in Administration) generated consolidated revenue of c. £42.3m. In the 17 months to 31 March 2020, consolidated revenue of £52.7m was generated.

Available Intellectual Property Assets

Brand

The Fleetway brand has a rich heritage and has been in the market for 45 years. Since 1975, Fleetway has developed a loyal following and an excellent reputation amongst holidaymakers. The brand is well-known and recognised for market-leading travel deals and exceptional customer service. Fleetway has achieved a 4.0 overall star rating on Trustpilot over 9,755 reviews, with 69% of customers rating the brand as “Excellent”. Fleetway won Best Independent Travel Agency at the 2019 British Travel Awards and was voted in the top 10 best travel agents by Which? in 2018. Press partners have included the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, for example. Fleetway benefits from a high-level of brand awareness in the UK and internationally.

Trade Marks

UK trade marks have been filed in relation to the “Fleetway” and “Fleetway Travel” brand names. Registered UK trade marks are also held in relation to the “TravelSmart” technology brand name and the “Phone & Fly” sub-brand with associated logo. A trade mark schedule is available to download.

Domain Names

Fleetway has an extensive portfolio of branded and non-branded high-traffic domain names. These include fleetwaytravel.com, fleetway.com, travelsmart.co.uk, phoneandfly.co.uk, luxuryholidaycollection.com and exclusiveluxurybreaks.com, amongst others. A full list of domain names is available to download.

Copyright in Website Content

The fleetwaytravel.com website attracted over 1.8 million users over the 12 months to 31 December 2019. The Fleetway website is an easy-to-use digital portal where users can access holiday packages in addition to travel tips and inspiration, incorporating a blog. The website was re-designed and re-built in late 2019 with improved destination/region content, the completion of several high impact SEO tasks, improved canonicalization and site structure optimization. Fleetway invested in PPC across brand and generic key words, targeted at key customer segments identified by demographics. The website’s organic search presence was enhanced by a refined content strategy. The content is rich and attractive. The website is clear and easy to navigate. It has been built using Craft.

TravelSmart Technology Platform

Fleetway has developed a sophisticated proprietary technology platform branded “TravelSmart”. TravelSmart is a web booking engine that provides online reservation technology for packaged holidays. Over £3m was invested in the development of TravelSmart over a 4.5 year period and it has been live for over 2 years.

TravelSmart was designed to work with multiple partners that use TravelSmart to promote and sell package holidays. It provides a reservation and fulfilment system to the fleetwaytravel.com website as well as to partner websites with which it seamlessly integrates. Each partner can create their own branded sales pages from a JSON feed supplied by the TravelSmart API. TravelSmart therefore enhances Fleetway customers’ user experience as well as providing B2B growth opportunities. B2B partners included Secret Escapes and Silversurfers.

The TravelSmart API uses micro-services that manage and control all input and output of the TravelSmart data. Features include data management tools for: building deals; retrieving promotional content for all deals, deals by region or by country; feeding to the front end and partners for searches, package pricing, upgrades and a booking document; and reserving and confirming with all hotel, flight, transfer, car rental, insurance and excursion providers. TravelSmart captures page access points as customers progress through the booking journey, incorporates a TravelSmart analytical tool and sends web page activity to Google Analytics. Providing customer and partners with accurate pricing requires caching of the flight and hotel data. To maintain flight prices and seat availability TravelSmart constantly runs queries for flight routes and stores these in a flight cache. With an average 3 hour roll around, all captured flights are accurate to within this 3 hour period.

TravelSmart has been developed using modern technologies. The platform is well-structured and scalable. The TravelSmart back end uses micro-services which are deployed into docker containers as spring boot applications. This makes them deployable locally in-house and on cloud (IONOS, GCP and AWS) with Kubernetes. The TravelSmart Front End uses Angular 6 with NodeJS which is also deployed into a Docker container making it deployable locally or on cloud. The system also uses a MySQL cluster and a MongoDB cluster. Over 2.5 million lines of Java code and 1 million lines of Angular/Node code are held. Extensive development documentation exists.

Social Media Assets

The Fleetway brand and website are supported by a strong social media presence. Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns formed part of the marketing mix. Fleetway has approximately 24,000 followers across its active Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Customer Data

Fleetway’s customer database includes approximately 160,000 active UK customers and 30,000 active US customers who have engaged with Fleetway in the last 12 months. Data held includes customer email and postal addresses, titles, names and telephone numbers as well as the details of the value of bookings cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fleetway’s customer database is highly-engaged and a 22% repeat rate has been identified. The typical Fleetway customer is 45+ and goes on four or more holidays per year.

Further Available Assets

Offers are also invited for the business and assets of the Companies as a whole. In addition to the available intellectual property assets outlined above, further available assets include the Companies’ pre-paid hotel inventory and contracts with hotels as well as various tangible asset items located at the Companies’ premises in London and Sheffield.

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Sales Process

Bids for some or all of the intellectual property assets are due Wednesday 5 August 2020 @ 2pm BST. Offers are also invited for the business and assets of the Companies as a whole.

All expressions of interest and bids are to be directed to Hilco Streambank in writing. A Bid Submission Form is available on request. Please contact Hilco Streambank to gain access to a virtual data room of further information on signing of a confidentiality agreement.

Key Terms & Conditions

The Joint Administrators act as agents of the Companies and without personal liability.

The bidder acknowledges that Hilco acts as an agent for the Joint Administrators of the Companies who offer for sale only what right, title and interest (if any) the Companies possess in the assets. Such sale will be without any warranties, expressed or implied. The information provided has not been verified by Hilco or the Joint Administrators and bidders are deemed to have carried out their own due diligence.

VAT, if applicable, at 20% will be added to the price. A buyer’s premium of 10% applies to this sale. A non-refundable deposit of 20% will be payable by the buyer within 48 hours of bid acceptance. Legal completion to occur within 5 business days of bid acceptance. Hilco Streambank's full Terms and Conditions apply.

Contact Us

For further information please contact the following Hilco Streambank representatives:. 

Interested Parties

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