Tourriffic Travel & Tours owner and CEO Cindy McMenamin and Celebrity Worldwide owner and CEO Dennis Adams sign an acquisition deal Oct. 6, 2012 giving Celebrity ownership of Tourriffic. The new entity, based in suburban Philadelphia, offers a full range of corporate and leisure related travel and tour options for all types of groups needing high-end motorcoach service.
[UPDATE/CLARIFICATION 10/12/12: 4:25 p.m. ET: Tourriffic Travel and Tours of Springfield, Penn., and Tour Riffic Travel, based in Ontario, Canada, are two different companies. Celebrity Worldwide recently bought Tourriffic, whose website is in transition].
MALVERN, Penn. — Operator Dennis Adams has proven how big late model buses with all the trappings can become a profitable venture.
Eighteen months after putting two 57-passenger Van Hools into corporate service, Adams closed a deal Oct. 6 to buy a tour and travel company that had been farming out work to his limousine company, Celebrity Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation.
Celebrity Worldwide bought Tourriffic Travel & Tours of Springfield, Penn., in a deal that makes Adams the primary owner and Tourriffic owner Cindy McMenamin a contracted executive with Celebrity. Tourriffic still runs under its own name, website, and phone numbers. Also joining Celebrity is Diane Santoro, who brings 15 years of experience planning vacations and tours at Tourriffic.
The deal between Celebrity and Tourriffic is one of the clearest examples yet of how the chauffeured transportation and charter and tour industries are morphing toward each other to meet growing demand for group transportation, following a recession that has spurred clients toward more cost-effective approaches in purchasing ground transportation services.
Tourriffic derives about three-quarters of its business from leisure-related chartered group travel, such as New York City shopping, sightseeing and Broadway show excursions, chartered vacation trips to country music mecca Branson, Mo., trips to resorts and casinos such as Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, historical tours, and scenic journeys throughout the Northeast and into Canada. The other quarter comes from ocean cruise groups, European river cruise groups, and groups of air travel passengers.
Tourriffic had been farming out quite a bit of its travel and tour business to Celebrity because it liked its new buses, the amenities, the professional chauffeurs in black suits, logical pricing structure, and overall organized and punctual nature of limousine service, Adams told LCT.
“They kept giving us more and more business and finally the owner came to me and said ‘I want to semi-retire and get out of running the administrative part,’” said Adams, a 2012 LCT Operator of the Year in the 51-plus vehicle category. McMenamin, who has 30 years of experience in the travel and tour business, with 20 years at Tourriffic, wanted an employment contract and to work under the Celebrity umbrella. Adams also saw the potential to double his company’s business.
Along with gaining leisure clients through Tourriffic, Celebrity Worldwide can now market tours and trips to its 4,000-member corporate client base, Adams said. “The corporate people might say, ‘We want to take employees on a leisure trip to a casino, or a sightseeing trip to the Poconos, or a Broadway play.’”
To keep up with demand, Celebrity Worldwide takes delivery this week of two 2012 model 57-passenger Van Hool black motorcoaches, considered among the most advanced buses in the world with three-point seatbelts, Wi-Fi, DVD entertainment, and seats and legroom more comfortable than economy class on an airline. The new buses, bought from ABC Companies, bring Celebrity’s bus fleet to a total of four Van Hools. Each new Van Hool costs about $500,000.
Adams branched into the bus business after seeing a strong trend toward consolidated group travel in the corporate world, with demand for all types of chauffeured mini-buses, vans and motorcoaches, ranging from client groups of 14 to 57. Adams says his buses have become profitable in the 18 months he’s run them.
“If I wasn’t able to show the numbers, do you think somebody would finance me for two more buses?” Dennis said. “They go through your finances and look at the business you’ve generated. We’ll be using buses for multiple purposes, which is a best case scenario.”
Related LCT article: Celebrity Worldwide Stays Out Front On Industry Trends
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor