The new owner of Baldwins Travel is to turn the company into the over-arching “super-brand” as it plans to acquire other agencies, launch a UK-wide retail concept and develop a digital presence.
Inc & Co Group is also in talks to acquire a specialist tour operator and has bought its first hotel in Turkey, with plans for two more properties in Europe in the next two years.
Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, chief executive Jack Mason said other companies “in a similar position to Baldwins” had approached the firm. Inc & Co now owns 100% of the miniple, which has eight branches in Kent and East Sussex.
“We are having conversations with a number of parties,” said Mason. “Every business has struggled through Covid.”
He said he was negotiating with agencies in Manchester, Newcastle and Loughborough, adding: “Baldwins will be the super-brand in terms of the name. It’s a strong brand down south and we’re looking to expand it. We can push the Baldwins name even further.”
Inc & Co is “weeks” from signing a lease on a “very big shopping centre in the north” where Mason plans the first in a series of “a totally new retail concept”, combining workspace with leisure, retail, food and drink – and now Baldwins Travel.
“City councils like it so much they are giving us millions of pounds to fit it out,” he added, saying it would work on high streets in places such as Kingston, Stevenage and Watford, as well as large shopping centres.
The idea is to combine Inc & Co’s brands in one space, so businesses can “cross-pollinate”. Other brands include salad bar Chop’d, laundry app Laundrapp, luggage label Knomo and oat milk brand Gut Instinct.
“You’ll be able to book a Baldwins holiday while having a coffee using our oat milk, travel with our Knomo luggage and when you return you can get your laundry done with Laundrapp,” he said.
Baldwins will also soon be selling holidays to Inc & Co’s new hotel in Kuşadasi, due to open in April 2022 after refurbishment. Mason also plans investment in digital to attract new online customers with an “edgier brand, powered by Baldwins”.
“We don’t want to change the Baldwins brand, but we believe there’s a market we can tap into with a different edge,” he said.