In a move that will expand Nexion's clout in the Canadian market, Nexion reports it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire a majority share of Uniglobe Instant Travel Inc., a London, Ontario-based travel agency.
Operating in Canada since 1982, Uniglobe Instant has actively engaged independent contractors (ICs) since 1998. The acquisition and move into Canada will enable Nexion to partner with an established Canadian travel agency and begin replicating its successful host agency concept for independent travel agents throughout the country, Nexion says.
Based in Irving, Texas, Nexion will operate Nexion Canada through the London office currently owned by Mike Foster. Foster has been a Uniglobe franchisee for 31 years and credits that affiliation for much of his business success.However once the acquisition closes at the end of January, Foster will cease the agency’s affiliation with the franchisor and operate under the Nexion Canada brand. Foster will be a partner of the new company and will serve as President of Nexion Canada reporting to Nexion President Jackie Friedman. No further details on the transaction will be provided, Nexion said.
“By partnering with Mike Foster’s highly reputable and established Ontario travel agency business, Nexion will be able to serve Canada’s growing number of independent travel agents nationally. We look forward to providing them with access to Nexion’s award-winning training ranging from coaching to Boot Camps, along with marketing, cruise group space and technology platforms,” explained Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion, a native of Toronto who went to university in London, Ontario.
“Hosting is all we do, thus enabling our primary focus to remain clear: work with independent contractors in helping them build their businesses and be more profitable. Through our ‘new’ Nexion Canada head office – strategically located in Ontario where more than 50 percent of all Canadian travel agents arebased – we’ll be able to offer them local support through an immensely experienced management team that’s uniquely Canadian," Friedman said.
Formed as a host agency in 1995, Nexion currently hosts over 3,300 ICs – corporate and leisure – throughout the United States. In 2010, Nexion was acquired from Sabre Holdings by Tzell, a New York City-based travel agency with sales approaching US $1.5 billion last year.
Tzell is part of Minnesota-headquartered Travel Leaders Group, which ranks among North America’s top five traditional travel agency enterprises and with approximately $18 billion in annual sales volume in 2012 through its wholly-owned, franchised and member operations.
Travel Leaders Group’s other operations in Canada currently include the Cruise Holidays franchise brand and the Vacation.com consortium. However, the addition of Uniglobe Instant marks Travel Leaders Group’s first majority-owned IATA-accredited agency in Canada, the company said.
“Throughout my 33 years in the travel industry, I have witnessed incredible change. But no change has been more exciting than the evolving role independent travel agents are contributing to our industry’s landscape in Canada,” noted Mike Foster, who as a Uniglobe agency owner for the last 31 years has been active with Canadian travel industry boards and business associations.
“By actively engaging ICs and harnessing their entrepreneurial spirit to drive our sales volume even higher, we’ve succeeded in sustaining this new industry paradigm. Now, through this acquisition, Nexion will take our ICs to the next level of profitability. We’re very excited to be part of this paradigm shift that will further revolutionize the Canadian travel agency community," Foster said.