Short-term, G Adventures continues to suffer due to rock-bottom demand for travel. However, long-term, the tour operator has great potential to become a major player beyond the niche realms of responsible travel.
In February 2020, the responsible tour operator received investment from private equity firm – Certares, with the firm stating that it envisions G Adventures’ business model being at the forefront of recovery in post-pandemic travel.
Offering a wide range of small group adventure tours and tapping into a variety of niche markets such as adventure, wellness, remote tourism, eco-opportunities and community-based travel, G Adventures meets the desires of young, experiential travelers.
M&A activity has been minimal for G Adventures, other than entering into a partnership with Crowd Riff, an AI powered content marketing platform in October 2019. With additional investment secured by Certares, this could be soon set to change – embracing further market niches to service the 21st century traveler.
G Adventures ‘Ripple Score’ transparency is an advantage
The majority of G Adventures’ experiences now hold a ‘Ripple Score’ – launched in partnership with non-profit Planterra and Sustainable Travel International, it is an evaluation tool that gives individuals the chance to see how much money is staying within a local community, rather than suffering economic leakage. The higher the ripple score, the more money stays within a local economy.
How ‘ethical/environmentally-friendly/socially-responsible’ a service is ‘always’, ‘often’ and ‘somewhat’ influenced 78% of global respondents in GlobalData’s Covid-19 recovery survey (2 – 6 December 2020). The highest number ‘always’ influenced by this were both Gen Z and Millennials – reflecting known news that these generations have a greater focus on sustainability.
‘Greenwashing’ has long been a barrier facing sustainable tourism. Corporate greenwashing – in particular – is when a business can make impressive claims about their sustainability initiatives to distract from unsustainable practices.
However, G Adventures’ ‘Ripple Score’ also displays low scores for itself – identifying areas the company is working on, making it ‘transparent’ in all it is achieving and a true advocate for responsible travel.
M&A activity will increase its competitive offering
After a tumultuous year for travel in 2020, M&A activity within the tourism sector is still low. Companies are focusing on preserving cash as the travel environment remains uncertain due to ongoing lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Backed by additional investment for growth capital by Certares, G Adventures is in a good position to withstand an uncertain 2021. M&A activity whether focused on technological development to offer more personalized experiences, or for more sustainable travel alternatives such as making deals with travel start-ups, will further strengthen its competitive offering, rivaling more mainstream competitors.