Clive Jacobs (b. 1961) is the Founder and former Chairman and CEO of holiday autos group limited, the world’s largest leisure car rental broker.
From humble beginnings, Clive built holiday autos into a sector leading business, which was acquired by lastminute.com in March 2003 for £43 million.
On selling holiday autos Clive joined the board of lastminute.com plc as Executive Deputy Chairman a position he held until June 2004.
Having left school at 16 Clive’s early career included jobs on building sites, and even the fish department at Selfridges. His introduction to the travel and leisure sector industry was working as a messenger for a travel agency. Following that he took a job in sales with a seat only company and became Managing Director of his own flight company at the age of 21.
On the look out for an unexploited niche in the travel industry, Clive and two partners founded holiday autos in 1987. holiday autos was the first car rental broker in Europe and the first car rental business to offer a pre book-able pre-paid fully inclusive product that was guaranteed in price. In 1995 Clive brought in ECI Ventures to assist him in buying out his original partners. They took a 25% stake in the company.
From this point onwards and realising the international opportunity that existed in this still unexploited segment Clive then set about the task of transforming holiday autos from a small successful company, into an established, well respected global business with a turnover in excess of £200 million operating out of 30 countries worldwide. Between 1995 and 2003 holiday autos won 68 awards in 8 countries for its service and innovation. In 1999 holiday autos launched the first fully book-able car rental website which by 2003 was handling in excess of 80% of the company’s transactions.
In 1997 Clive was awarded the World Travel Market Global award for his outstanding contribution to the UK Travel Industry and in 1999 he was voted Director of the Year by PWC and Decision magazine. In 2000 he was presented with a World Travel Market Tribute 21 award, an accolade given to 21 key individuals who had been instrumental in bringing pioneering changes to the travel industry over the previous 21 years.
In 2003, he was inducted in to the travel industry’s highly prestigious Hall of Fame, alongside other leading figures including Vladimir Raitz, Billy Butlin, Lord King and Richard Branson.
Since June 2004 Clive has advised on several large acquisition opportunities with major banks and private equity companies. He has personally backed two businesses – the leading independent online classified business freeads.co.uk and an internet software consultancy business.
In September 2008 Clive was appointed as the first Chairman of Visit Devon, a newly formed destination management organisation responsible for promoting Devon to the world.
In August 2009 Clive acquired Travel Weekly from Reed Business Information, a Reed Elsevier company and became Chairman of the newly formed Travel Weekly Group, formerly known as TWgroup. Travel Weekly is one of the leading publications and information services in the travel and tourism industry, and includes the associated brands Travolution, Gazetteers.com, the Globe Travel Awards and associated websites and events. Under Clive’s leadership the Travel Weekly Group team have built on the group’s market leadership and strengthened what were already leading brands even further into the market place.
In November 2010 Travel Weekly Group launched a new luxury product, Aspire, which is a members-only luxury travel club for both agents and suppliers.
In November 2012 Clive expanded the Travel Weekly Group by acquiring Caterer and Hotelkeeper from Reed Business Information. Caterer and Hotelkeeper is the UK"s only weekly for hoteliers and restaurateurs and one of the events in their portfolio is the renowned Catey awards. Clive also acquired the Agent Achievement Awards from Kingley Event Management, which are recognised as the leading travel agent awards programme.
In 2013 the business launched Connecting Travel, a revolutionary new publishing concept for the B2B market which provides a dedicated global travel, tourism, and hospitality community for its members.
In March 2014 Clive expanded the Travel Weekly Group further by acquiring Kingley Event Management and its portfolio of events including the British Travel and Hospitality Industry Hall of Fame. The agreement completes the acquisition of Kingley following the purchase of the Agent Achievement Awards in 2012, and extends the Travel Weekly Group events portfolio to more than 50 events a year.
In April 2014, Travel Weekly Group also launched Connections, a portfolio of events to facilitate direct business relationships in the global travel industry. Connections is a series of exclusive invitation-only events for different travel sectors to be held in luxury hotels around the world.
In June 2014, Clive completed his second acquisition of the year and is now the owner of travelGBI, the premier title solely focusing on domestic travel, tourism and business news in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In July 2014, Caterer and Hotelkeeper rebranded its multimedia publishing group as The Caterer, while launching a radical new website and restyled magazine.
With Travel Weekly Group growing in size and scale, and delivering new products in new sectors, Clive launched the umbrella/parent brand of Jacobs Media Group which encompasses all the titles held within Travel Weekly Group.
Later in 2014 Clive fulfilled an advisory role for BC Partners, helping them in a successful bid to buy the car hire firm, CarTrawler, from ECI Partners. This outcome brought Clive full circle, with CarTrawler having purchased holiday autos from lastminute.com in 2013. Clive remains an investor, and also an active advisor in the business to both management team and private equity firm.
In the same year Clive took a stake in and became Chairman of leading luxury cruise business, The Cruise Professionals, whilst also becoming Chairman of leading Canadian travel retailer itravel2000.
Clive was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2003