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Hickory Travel, eTravCo Form AllianceAugust 27, 2009 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Hickory Travel Systems in Saddle Brook, NJ and eTravCo in State College, PA have formed a worldwide alliance that will capitalize on Hickory Travel System’s corporate travel services and eTravCo’s leisure travel capabilities. Hickory has 3,000 locations and eTravCo 950 has agency members.
“We believe that by combining our resources and our buying power we will create a force truly unique in our industry,” said L. William Chiles, chairman and CEO of Hickory Travel Systems. “We are coming together to create a much stronger value proposition and offer a more comprehensive program to our members and an extensive distribution network for our global suppliers. This truly positions the travel agent as a critical component to the distribution process.”
The new venture will build upon eTravCo’s consortium position and commitment to supplier contracts and Hickory’s position as a travel agency super-network. The combined buying power of these two industry leaders creates a one-stop shop for the vendor needs of both leisure and corporate travel agents, the companies said.
“We have reviewed the direction of the industry and are excited about the opportunity to align our companies to maximize the strength of our membership and our value to our suppliers,” said Blair Caple, CEO of eTravCo. “Not only is this venture a unique choice for comprehensive agency services, but we can now provide services to agencies with existing affiliations. Dual affiliation is becoming a fact of life in this dynamic marketplace.”
The venture is positioned to be the logical choice for corporate agencies, leisure agencies, brick and mortar agencies, online agencies, corporate travel departments, home-based agencies, and agency start-ups, the companies said.
The transaction is subject to the completion of definitive agreements and is anticipated to close later in this quarter. Both companies were created by travel experts and the executive teams will remain intact to drive this new initiative. Brent Pasquinelli, president of eTravCo Consortium said “Our members and Preferred Suppliers are going to be pleased with the results of this venture.” The bottom line will be better deals and increased market share.
Hickory Travel Systems was founded in 1976 to provide basic support services and enable agency owners to pool their buying power. Hickory now offers 24/7 reservation services, international sourcing opportunities, International Rate Service, preferred rate hotel program, revenue enhancement programs, fulfillment services, travel technology, automation, and networking opportunities. Hickory Travel Systems has affiliates in 40 countries representing over 3,000 locations worldwide.
Founded in 2001, eTravCo lays claim to be the third largest travel consortium in the United States with $3.3 billion in sales, 950 plus agency members with 2,850 agents in 41 states, and 60 plus national vendors. It operates a series of destination-based travel booking websites under its Town Travel brand, and a discount travel website under its BookAirlineTickets.com brand.