Australia's Corporate Travel Management announced the acquisition of Alaska's USTravel, effective July 1. It's yet another purchase, following those of Polk Majestic Travel Group (also known as R&A Travel) and TravelCorp, that expands CTM's North American presence.
For 2013, USTravel processed about 320,000 air transactions (including about 246,000 through ARC), accounting for $143 million in air sales, according to BTN's annual Business Travel Survey. According to CTM, USTravel's total 2013 sales volume across all activities was about $185 million.
By including USTravel's operations, CTM would be in 17 North American cities with 330 full-time staff. It now expects total transaction value in North America for fiscal year 2015 to surpass $500 million. Such growth gives CTM greater "buying power, internal resources, client-facing solutions and support expertise," according to a statement attributed to CTM North America CEO Romeo Cuter.
Established in 1985 and based in Anchorage as a privately owned TMC, USTravel will serve as CTM's "regional base for the Pacific Northwest." U.S. headquarters will remain in Denver.
A BCD Travel affiliate, USTravel operates about a dozen offices across Alaska, Washington state and Oregon, and a group air reservation center in Des Moines, Iowa. It specializes in servicing the fishing and marine industries, while also complementing CTM's global focus on the oil and gas industry. USTravel also is a government contractor, servicing federal and state entities as well as universities and other public institutions. For example, the agency in 2013 began supporting the WSCA/NASPO Travel Center, a collaboration between the Western States Contracting Alliance and the National Association of State Procurement Officials.
USTravel claims its mix is about 80 percent corporate travel, with the remainder in meetings, groups, incentives and leisure, some of which is handled by subsidiaries, including group and incentive travel specialist Air Fulfillment Services in Des Moines.
After a 2011 switch, USTravel now uses Sabre as its sole global distribution system.
USTravel's longtime owner Mark Eliason died in September 2013. His wife Linda Eliason then became the company's president and owner. Cuter told The Beat that USTravel's leadership will remain in place, with Eliason and executive vice president Julie Crotts reporting to him.