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The Germans are embarking on another international conquest.

Munich-based Excursiopedia has acquired Moscow-based Travelatus, in an effort to become a leader in helping travelers find local activities. Interestingly, both startups presented at DEMO Europe in Moscow earlier this year, and apparently thought they would be stronger if they joined forces.

Excursiopedia is a curated marketplace for events and things to do in 1,200 cities around the world.  You search for your destination and receive listings of available activities, ranging from bus tours to dinner and dancing shows. Each listing contains a description, ratings and reviews, pricing and the opportunity to book.

Travelatus’ service helps people plan trips around music and sporting events. You can search for events, as well as for hotels and transportation, and receive recommendations. Let’s say you are a die hard Justin Timberlake fan and want to see him perform in Copenhagen. Travelatus provides a single place to buy tickets, book flights, and find hotels near the venue.

The three person Travelatus team will join Excursiopedia to take on this difficult market.

Online travel companies are always some of the earliest to take root in emerging tech markets. Even countries without a strong tech industry may be strong in tourism, and travel is something many people can get excited about. Not to mention the fact that there is a lot of money to be made.

But the sector is not without its challenges. To start, it is highly competitive.

There are legacy players such as Expedia and Viator, as well as relative newcomers like Vayable, Peek, AnyRoad, and GetYourGuide (also based in Germany).

The travel industry, particularly when it comes to activities and experiences, is also highly fragmented. There are thousands upon thousands of local tour companies, tour guides, and service providers, but many don’t have a strong Internet presence.

For these reasons and others, hordes of travel startups have tried and failed.

However increased Internet penetration, largely spurred by mobile devices, has created new opportunities for travel startups. It brings more people online and makes information accessible on-the-go, which is rather critical when to comes to travel. We are is still in the early days for online travel in the BRIC countries and the developing world, with billions of potential dollars to be made.

Travel is also an active market for acquisitions, because bigger players are constantly scooping up smaller players to grow their footprint, by expanding their base of customers and vendors. Excursiopedia also acquired outdoor activity specialist RangeUp in October.

But it will take more than comprehensive listings to get ahead in this market. There are competitors that offer more activities with better design, or take a more unique approach to travel planning. And then there is the age-old method of winging it, but that’s not for everyone.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although it is rumored to be six-figures.


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