Short’s Travel Management, based in Waterloo, Iowa, revealed that it acquired Groople Inc. in November for an undisclosed amount of cash.
The acquisition will enhance Short’s Travel’s ability to serve the sports and corporate group market, according to a statement. Short’s moves about 250,000 fans and athletes and coordinates logistics for more than 20,000 meeting attendees annually.
The announcement of the deal was delayed until the delivery of new servers.
Groople, founded in 2004 by former CheapTickets president Mike Stacy, was designed to simplify the booking of group travel online by providing real-time rates, availability and booking for more than five rooms at a time. It targeted a wide variety of groups, from girlfriend getaways and family reunions to weddings and corporate meetings.
The GroopVine feature allows each group to create its own private page where members could be apprised of details of the trip.
Groople also has agreements for referrals from Travelocity, SideStep and Kayak when a user requests more than five rooms.
Among Groople’s features are:
● An automated RFP process for booking properties not accessible through booking engine supply sources. Users are connected to hotels via an online portal and e-mail.
● Web-based sports team travel tools that enable team travel coordinators to initiate and manage travel bookings and to upload and manage team schedules and rosters.
● A Web-based reservation solution for advance payments, rooming lists, contracts, etc.
The two companies began working together last spring on sports-related projects.
Initially, Groople expressed a desire to acquire Short’s, but the agency refused. Later, another company offered to buy Groople. When that company pulled out of the deal, Short’s stepped in with an offer.