Booking Holdings has agreed to acquire FareHarbor, a Denver-based software company focused on tours and activities.

FareHarbor will operate as an independent business within Booking Holdings but will sit within the Booking.com part of the business.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The company’s senior management team will report to the Booking.com leadership team headed by CEO Gillian Tans.

“Today travel is fueled by technology, yet the local experiences and attractions marketplace is still largely offline,” says Tans.

“FareHarbor’s technology allows local tours and attractions to easily bring their businesses online.  We see an immense opportunity to leverage this technology to bring more local experiences online, benefitting the entire global travel ecosystem for both consumers and local businesses by allowing them to connect instantly through a seamless digital experience.”

FareHarbor was founded in 2013 and now claims to have more than 5,000 tours and activity providers using its software in the United States.

It has taken in just $110,000 in funding, in a venture round back in May 2015.

Booking move

The acquisition signals an end to the previous strategy at Booking Holdings of observing the tours and activities market and, on some occasions, doubting whether it would be a sector that the travel giant would consider entering.

It has, in recent years, started introducing tickets for attractions in a number of cities, integrated into the booking flow for hotel guests using Booking.com and using QR codes as a method of issuing tickets for products.

Similar to its efforts in the past, it has followed a similar vein with the latest deal – buying a technology company rather than a consumer-facing brand as it looks to focus on a new market.

Booking Holdings acquired TravelJigsaw in 2010, which then formed the backbone of its RentalCars brand.

The FareHarbor deal illustrates that Booking Holdings is prepared to build its entry into tours and activities from within the technology itself, rather than buying an existing provider (GetYourGuidebeing the long-speculated likely business to be snapped up after TripAdvisor bought arch rival Viator in 2014).

Booking Holdings could have nabbed a number of other brands that work the particular segment of long-tail tours and activities, such as Peek or Rezdy, both of which have taken in more investment ($16.9 million and $9.6 million, respectively).

Buying into tours and activities puts Booking Holdings up against its own nemesis Expedia Group, which has invested fairly heavily in its Local Expert brand over a number of years.