Travelzoo Inc. CEO RALPH BARTEL bought 27504 shares on 5-21-2008 at $9.93
Travelzoo Inc. (the â€śCompanyâ€ť or â€śTravelzooâ€ť) is an Internet media company. We publish travel offers from hundreds of travel companies. As the Internet is becoming consumersâ€™ preferred medium to search for travel offers, we provide airlines, hotels, cruise lines, vacation packagers, and other travel companies with a fast, flexible, and cost-effective way to reach millions of users. While our products provide advertising opportunities for travel companies, they also provide Internet users with a free source of information on current sales and specials from hundreds of travel companies.
Our publications include the Travelzoo Web sites (which includes www.travelzoo.com, www.travelzoo.ca, www.travelzoo.co.uk, www.travelzoo.de, among others), the Travelzoo Top 20 e-mail newsletter, and the Newsflash e-mail product. The Company also operates SuperSearch, a pay-per-click travel search engine.
More than 600 companies purchase our advertising services, including American Airlines, ATA, Avis Rent A Car, British Airways, Caesars Entertainment, Expedia, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, JetBlue Airways, Kimpton Hotels, Liberty Travel, Marriott Hotels, Royal Caribbean, Spirit Airlines, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, United Airlines, and Vanguard Rent-A-Car.
Our revenues are generated from advertising sales. Our revenues have grown rapidly since we began operations in 1998. Our revenues increased from approximately $84,000 for the period from May 21, 1998 (inception) to December 31, 1998, to approximately $69.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2006.
We have two operating segments based on geographic regions: North America and Europe. North America consists of our operations in the U.S. and Canada. Europe consists of our operations in the U.K., Germany, and Spain. For the year ended December 31, 2006, European operations were 5% of revenues. Financial information with respect to our business segments and certain financial information about geographic areas appears in Note 7 â€śSegment Reporting and Significant Customer Information,â€ť to the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
Our principal business office is located at 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022.
Travelzoo is controlled by Ralph Bartel, who holds beneficially approximately 50.2% of the outstanding shares.
The Company was formed as a result of a combination and merger of entities founded by the Companyâ€™s majority stockholder, Ralph Bartel. In 1998, Mr. Bartel founded Travelzoo.com Corporation, a Bahamas corporation, which issued 5,155,874 shares via the Internet to approximately 700,000 â€śNetsurfer stockholdersâ€ť for no cash consideration. In 1998, Mr. Bartel also founded Silicon Channels Corporation, a California corporation, to operate the Travelzoo Web site. During 2001, Travelzoo Inc. was formed as a subsidiary of Travelzoo.com Corporation, and Mr. Bartel contributed all of the outstanding shares of Silicon Channels to Travelzoo Inc. in exchange for 8,129,273 shares of Travelzoo Inc. and options to acquire an additional 2,158,349 shares at $1.00. The merger was accounted for as a combination of entities under common control using â€śas-if pooling-of-interestsâ€ť accounting. Under this method of accounting, the assets and liabilities of Silicon Channels Corporation and Travelzoo Inc. were carried forward to the combined company at their historical costs. In addition, all prior period financial statements of Travelzoo Inc. were restated to include the combined results of operations, financial position and cash flows of Silicon Channels Corporation.
During January 2001, the Board of Directors of Travelzoo.com Corporation proposed that Travelzoo.com Corporation be merged with Travelzoo Inc. whereby Travelzoo Inc. would be the surviving entity. On March 15, 2002, the stockholders of Travelzoo.com Corporation approved the merger with Travelzoo Inc. On April 25, 2002, the certificate of merger was filed in Delaware upon which the merger became effective and Travelzoo.com Corporation ceased to exist. Each outstanding share of common stock of Travelzoo.com Corporation was converted into the right to receive one share of common stock of Travelzoo Inc. Under and subject to the terms of the merger agreement, stockholders were allowed a period of two years following the effective date of the merger to receive shares of Travelzoo Inc. The records of Travelzoo.com Corporation showed that, assuming all of the shares applied for by the Netsurfer stockholders were validly issued, there were 11,295,874 shares of Travelzoo.com Corporation outstanding. As of April 25, 2004, two years following the effective date of the merger, 7,180,342 shares of Travelzoo.com Corporation had been exchanged for shares of Travelzoo Inc. Prior to that date, the remaining shares which were available for issuance pursuant to the merger agreement were included in the issued and outstanding common stock of Travelzoo Inc. and included in the calculation of basic and diluted earnings per share. After April 25, 2004, the Company ceased issuing shares to the former stockholders of Travelzoo.com Corporation, and no additional shares are reserved for issuance to any former stockholders, because their right to receive shares has now expired. On April 25, 2004, the number of shares reported as outstanding was reduced from 19,425,147 to 15,309,615 to reflect actual shares issued as of the expiration date. Earnings per share calculations reflect this reduction of the number of shares reported as outstanding. As of December 31, 2006, there were 15,250,479 shares of common stock outstanding.
In October 2004, the Company announced a program under which it would make cash payments to persons who establish that they were stockholders of Travelzoo.com Corporation, and who failed to submit requests for shares in Travelzoo Inc. within the required time period. See Note 2 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
The merger of Travelzoo.com Corporation into Travelzoo Inc. was accounted for as a combination of entities under common control using â€śas-if pooling-of-interestsâ€ť accounting. Under this method of accounting, the assets and liabilities of Travelzoo.com Corporation and Travelzoo Inc. were carried forward at their historical costs. In addition, all prior period financial statements of Travelzoo Inc. were restated to include the combined results of operations, financial position and cash flows of Travelzoo.com Corporation. The restated results of operations and cash flows of Travelzoo Inc. are identical to the combined results of Travelzoo.com Corporation and Travelzoo Inc.
In May 2005, we incorporated Travelzoo (Europe) Limited as a wholly-owned subsidiary in the U.K. and began operations in the U.K.
Travelzoo is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol â€śTZOO.â€ť
According to the TNS Media Intelligence, travel companies spent $1.3 billion in 2006 on advertising in newspapers (source: TNS Media Intelligence, 2007). We believe that newspapers are currently the main medium for travel companies to advertise their offers.
We believe that several factors are causing and will continue to cause travel companies to increase their spending on Internet advertising of offers:
The Internet Is Consumersâ€™ Preferred Information Source. Market research shows that the Internet has become consumersâ€™ preferred information source for travel (source: DoubleClick Touchpoints III consumer survey, 2005).
Benefits of Internet Advertising vs. Print Advertising. Internet advertising provides travel companies advantages compared to print advertising. These advantages include real-time listings, real-time updates, and performance tracking. See â€śâ€” Benefits to Travel Companiesâ€ť below.
New Advertising Opportunities. The Internet allows travel companies to advertise their sales and specials in a fast, flexible, and cost-effective manner that has not been possible before.
Suppliers Selling Directly. We believe that many travel suppliers prefer to sell directly to consumers through suppliersâ€™ Web sites versus selling through travel agents. Internet advertising attracts consumers to suppliersâ€™ Web sites.
Problems Travel Companies Face and Limitations of Newspaper Advertising
We believe that travel companies often face the challenge of being able to effectively and quickly market and sell their excess inventory (i.e. airline seats, hotel rooms, or cruise cabins that are likely to be unfilled). The success of marketing excess inventory can have a substantial impact on a travel companyâ€™s profitability. Almost all costs of travel services are fixed. That is, the costs do not vary with sales. A relatively small amount of unsold inventory can have a significant impact on the profitability of a travel company.
Our management believes that travel companies need a fast, flexible, and cost-effective solution for marketing excess inventory. The solution must be fast, because travel services are a quickly expiring commodity. The period between the time when a company realizes that there is excess inventory and the time when the travel service has become worthless is very short. The solution must be flexible, because the travel industry is dynamic and the demand for excess inventory is difficult to forecast. It is difficult for travel companies to price excess inventory and to forecast the marketing effort needed to sell excess inventory. The marketing must be cost-effective because excess inventory is often sold at highly discounted prices, which lowers margins.
Our management believes that newspaper advertising, with respect to advertising excess inventory, suffers from a number of limitations which do not apply to the Internet:
â€˘ typically, ads must be submitted 2 to 5 days prior to the publication date, which makes it difficult to advertise last-minute inventory;
â€˘ once an ad is published, it cannot be updated or deleted when an offer is sold out;
â€˘ once an ad is published, the travel company cannot change a price;
â€˘ in many markets, the small number of newspapers and other print media reduces competition, resulting in high rates for newspaper advertising; and
â€˘ newspaper advertising does not allow for detailed performance tracking.
Our Products and Services
We provide airlines, hotels, cruise lines, vacation packagers, and other travel suppliers with a fast, flexible, and cost-effective way to advertise their sales and specials to millions of Internet users. Our publications include the Travelzoo Web sites (which includes www.travelzoo.com, www.travelzoo.ca, www.travelzoo.co.uk, www.travelzoo.de, among others), the Travelzoo Top 20 e-mail newsletter, and the Newsflash e-mail alert service. The Company also operates SuperSearch, a pay-per-click travel search engine. While our products provide advertising opportunities for travel companies, they also provide Internet users with a free source of information on current sales and specials from hundreds of travel companies.
As travel companies increasingly utilize the Internet to promote their offers, we believe that our products will enable them to take advantage of the lower cost and real-time communication enabled by the Internet. Our listing management software allows travel companies to add, update, and delete special offer listings on a real-time basis. Our software also provides travel companies with real-time performance tracking, enabling them to optimize their marketing campaigns.
Ralph Bartel, Ph.D., founded Travelzoo in 1998 and has served as our Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and Chief Executive Officer since inception. Prior to September 2006, Mr. Bartel also served as the Companyâ€™s Chief Financial Officer. Prior to his founding of Travelzoo, from 1996 to 1997, Mr. Bartel was a Managing Assistant at Gruner + Jahr AG, the magazine division of Bertelsmann AG. Mr. Bartel holds a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Mainz, Germany, a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and a Masterâ€™s degree in Journalism from the University of Eichstaett, Germany.
Holger Bartel, Ph.D., has served as a director since June 2005 and was elected Executive Vice President in 2001 after serving as Vice President of Sales and Marketing since 1999. From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Bartel was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company in Los Angeles. From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Bartel was a research fellow at Harvard Business School. Mr. Bartel holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He is the brother of Ralph Bartel.
David J. Ehrlich has served as a director since 1999. Since March 2007, Mr. Ehrlich has served as Chief Executive Officer of ParAccel, Inc., a technology company. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Ehrlich was Senior Vice President, Marketing and Chief Strategy Officer of NetIQ Corporation. From 1998 to 2002, Mr. Ehrlich was Vice President, Product Management and Strategic Partnering for Visual Networks, Inc. From 1993 to 1998, Mr. Ehrlich worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. Mr. Ehrlich holds a bachelorâ€™s degree in Sociology from Stanford University, a Masterâ€™s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Donovan Neale-May has served as a director since 1999. Since 1987, Mr. Neale-May has been President of Neale-May & Partners, an independent marketing and communications firm with 60 full-time professionals in its Silicon Valley and New York offices. Mr. Neale-May formed the firm in 1987 after running Ogilvy & Matherâ€™s West Coast PR operations for five years.
Kelly M. Urso has served as a director since 1999. Since 2003, Ms. Urso has been a principal at K. M. Urso & Company, LLC. From 2001 to 2003, Ms. Urso was a tax attorney with Reynolds & Rowella LLP. Fr