Olivier Colomès, Président et co-fondateur d

External growth: Exo Travel raises funds to expand outside Asia


Exo Travel wants to write a new page in its history outside Asia.

Present in 9 countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan), the incoming agency mandated Cambon Partners (Paris, San Francisco) and High Seas Investment (Beijing, Hong-Kong) to support it in its external growth strategy by raising funds.
Objective: to create the “world leader in DMCs (Destination Management Company)“by setting out to conquer new playgrounds. The current fundraising will allow the acquisition of receptives in other regions of the world.
“The stop related to the Covid-19 crisis was very brutal“, explains Olivier Colomès, President and co-founder of Exo Travel.
“In front of this situation”, he continues, “either we wait with folded arms, or we try to raise funds to add new receptives in other regions of the world. The crisis we are going through offers the possibility of consolidating our positions and gaining new market shares. “

All options under consideration

In his sights: destinations that showcase the expertise and added value of the agency in tailor-made and tailor-made travel, adventure stays (Exo Aventure), high-end travel (Lux by Exo), the incentive and the MICE.
Latin America, Southern Africa, North America appear as prime targets.
“We have already identified a few receptives in Mexico, Brazil and Chile, we also have good contacts in Southern Africa, and advanced discussions in India and Sri Lanka. In Europe, it’s a little more complicated “, assures Olivier Colomès.
“It’s easier to implement reconciliations when the industry is at a standstill. We are able to set up all of our IT processes while the activity is still on hiatus”, specifies the manager, who also relies on synergies in sales, marketing, systems, operations …
In particular, the receptive has a global reservation platform integrating dynamic package software which allows its tour operator partners to make quotes and reservations in real time.
On the financing side, Exo Travel is also discussing with around ten investment funds and “of tour groups who “wish either to diversify into a network of receptives, or to merge their group with ours. All options are under consideration, “ adds Olivier Colomès.

Double the number of destinations

Within a year, the receptive agency aims to double the number of countries in its catalog to flirt with the bar of 20 destinations.
“If the fundraising is successful, we will be able to put our development plan in place very quickly. We hope to start in the second quarter of 2021 and take advantage of the second half to extend the acquisitions. and start the integration on the platform“.

However, if the operation were to fail, Olivier Colomès remains confident in the future of his receptive: “in the worst case, if the plan cannot be implemented, Exo Travel will still be there in a year. We are fortunate to be backed by our shareholder Appletree-Asia.com which will allow us to hold out until 2022. ”

The Bangkok-headquartered company achieved more than $ 150 million in revenue in 2019. The co-founder hopes to return to the same level in 2022.
To cope with the crisis, the company was forced to part with a large number of its employees. “Except in Japan where there was aid similar to France with loans and short-time working, elsewhere government aid was absent.
We know we will rehire as soon as necessary, unfortunately we have not been able to maintain wages over time. Since March nothing has happened and the domestic market does not exist. Only a few expatriates have called on our services but this remains anecdotal “.

This is why Olivier Colomès is focusing on the future: “now is the time to seize strategic opportunities outside Asia, to leave better and even stronger than before “.

Posted by Céline Eymery
Editor-in-Chief – TourMaG.com
See all articles by Céline Eymery

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