Clive Jacobs

Entrepreneur & Investor

About Clive

Clive Jacobs is a serial entrepreneur and investor whose businesses have consistently challenged and disrupted established practices. He is well-known for building his company holiday autos into the world’s largest leisure car rental broker before its sale to lastminute.com

Clive is now the chairman and owner of the Queen’s Award winning Jacobs Media Group, Europe’s largest travel & hospitality b2b media business. The portfolio includes the market leading Travel Weekly brand and its impressive array of UK and international brands. The group also includes the 142-year-old trade bible The Caterer and its associated publications, awards and innovative digital solutions.

Clive is also co-owner and chairman of Tully Luxury Travel (formerly known as The Cruise Professionals), the largest, fastest-growing luxury retailer in North America.

Holiday Autos

Clive’s introduction to the travel industry came aged 19, when he started working as a messenger for a travel agent and tour operator. Prior to that, he had worked in construction, life assurance and even in the fish department at Selfridges, having left school aged 15.

After rising rapidly through the ranks, he decided to go it alone and, aged just 21, he set up his first travel company from an office in Kent while driving a taxi at night to supplement his income.

In March 1988, Clive co-founded holiday autos, the company credited with reinventing the car rental model with its pre-bookable, pre-paid fully inclusive product and its guarantee to better any like-for-like quote.

When his partners decided to explore a different direction in 1995, Clive brought in ECI Partners to assist him in buying the business and taking it to the next stage in its evolution.

Over the next 8 years, Clive and the holiday autos team built a company operating out of 30 countries worldwide and boasting a turnover in excess of £200 million.

70 awards in eight countries are testament to its service and innovation, including the first fully bookable car rental website – launched in 1999 and handling 80% of transactions globally by 2003.

In March 2003, holiday autos was acquired by lastminute.com, with Clive overseeing the integration of the businesses and the delivery of significant financial and worldwide infrastructure benefits as lastminute.com’s executive deputy chairman.


Jacobs Media Group

In August 2009, Clive made his first media investment by acquiring Travel Weekly and its associated events and brands including the Globe Travel Awards, Travolution and Gazetteers, from Reed Business Information. He set about transforming the business from a failing traditional b2b trade magazine, to a multi-faceted media and events business with global reach.

 

In April 2020, Jacobs Media Group received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its international growth.

First published as Travel News in 1969, Travel Weekly boasts a 50-year heritage and is the undisputed market-leading travel trade media brand across all metrics.
In addition to the flagship weekly print magazine which is published 51 times a year and reaches more than 45,000 readers, Travel Weekly’s multimedia portfolio includes print and digital publications, websites including travelweekly.co.uk, social channels, jobs boards, email, video, podcasts and more.

It also runs the most highly-regarded events in the travel industry, from dazzling showpiece ceremonies including the Globe Travel Awards and Agent Achievement Awards to full-day conferences and exclusive business breakfasts, dinners and lunches featuring the most sought-after speakers in travel and beyond.

Travel Weekly’s core readership ranges from frontline travel sellers and suppliers to the chief executives of the world’s leading travel firms, and it is the first choice for breaking news, award-winning features and the best analysis of the issues facing the industry at home and overseas.

The Travel Weekly editorial and commercial team boasts unrivalled experience and knowledge of the industry it serves.

The Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards are widely acknowledged as the pinnacle of the UK travel industry, honouring companies and individuals in a range of sectors.

Established in 1976, the awards take place in front of more than 1,200 guests at the Grosvenor House hotel on London’s Park Lane every January and attract the cream of the UK and international travel industry.

In addition to awards recognising best-in-class brands in a range of categories, special awards recognise the industry’s outstanding achievers, innovators and unsung heroes.

The glittering gala ceremony is attended by the UK travel industry’s most senior figures, and since 2019 has been held in association with consumer media partner Hearst UK, the publisher of 25 brands including Esquire, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping.

The Globes are also renowned for featuring some of the biggest names in entertainment, with previous hosts including James Corden, Michael McIntyre and David Walliams.

The Caterer is the leading multimedia brand for the UK hospitality industry, covering restaurants, hotels, foodservice and pubs & bars.
Since 1878, The Caterer has inspired, connected and united the hospitality industry, and provides suppliers with a platform to showcase their most innovative products and services.

Its mission is to empower the leaders of today and aspiring leaders of tomorrow with tools, skills and networks to enable them to make better decisions to grow their businesses and careers.

These include a weekly magazine and 15 annual supplements, each reaching 30,000 readers; market-leading website thecaterer.com with more than 300,000 monthly unique users; a suite of email alerts, including the Breakfast Briefing sent to 30,000 industry leaders each weekday at 9.30am; and Caterer Insight market trend reports.

The Caterer’s portfolio of 35 annual events includes the Cateys, Hotel Cateys, Foodservice Cateys, Acorn Awards, UK Sommelier of the Year, Product Excellence Awards, Caterer Summit, People Summit and Chef Eats Out.

The Caterer editorial and commercial team have unrivalled reach in the hospitality industry.

In 2013 the prestigious Cateys Awards celebrated their 30th anniversary with the biggest event to date, they have continued to grow every year since. In 2014, the Foodservice Cateys was launched to recognise achievement and complete the Cateys portfolio along with the well-established Hotel Cateys.

Elsewhere, the events portfolio has experienced exponential growth with the re-birth of “Chef Eats Out” and “Best Places to Work in Hospitality”, the rollout of the hugely successful Foodservice and Hotel Forum concepts, and the launch of annual HR & Digital Forums. The Caterer also partners with other organisations, co-presenting The Shine Awards, Restaurant Manager of the Year and the UK Sommelier of the Year awards – which Clive acquired from the British Institute of Innkeeping in April 2017.

Also in 2014, Clive launched a completely new events concept called “Connections”. Connections is a unique and award-winning format, which seeks to create meaningful and lasting relationships between senior travel buyers and sellers. Connections events facilitate meetings and relationship-building through shared experiences that take place in some of the world’s most exclusive venues. The first Connections event took place in September 2014 at the Four Seasons in Hampshire. Since then, events have taken place in Spain, Portugal, China, Abu Dhabi, Italy, Thailand and Brazil.

In 2010 Aspire became the first Travel Weekly launch under new ownership.  Aspire is the only luxury travel club that connects suppliers and agents selling high-end travel experiences.  Aspire comprises a print magazine, a members-only website, an extensive events network and a consumer-facing digital magazine which is white-labelled by agent members.  In 2018, the brand held its inaugural Leaders of Luxury conference, now an annual symposium attracting more than 250 senior executives on an invitation-only basis.  It also created The Retreat, hosting 25 hand-picked luxury travel sellers and 15 suppliers overseas for four days of relationship building and education, as well as celebrating the cream of the luxury industry at the annual Aspire Awards.

In December 2016, Clive created the International Travel Crisis Management Summit to bring together public and private stakeholders in the travel industry to address challenges and response to crises and disasters, both man-made and environmental, and share best practice and information across destinations and industries.  Following the success of the ITCMS, the concept evolved into The Resilience Council which works in partnership with leading industry figures and organisations and is supported by multiple governments around the world including Jordan, South Africa, Jamaica, Greece and Nepal.  It is co-chaired by Jamaica’s tourism minister Edmund Bartlett and Dr Taleb Rifai, former secretary general of the UNWTO.

In April 2017 Jacobs Media Group launched the Association of Touring & Adventure Suppliers (ATAS), bringing together 30 leading companies to grow the awareness of the sector. In October of the same year the first ATAS exhibition took place at the Birmingham ICC, with over three hundred sellers of travel attending a day of conference sessions and market place activity.


On-going Investment & Innovation

Clive has invested in a number of start-up and later-stage businesses, and has acted as an advisor on several significant acquisitions with major banks and private equity firms.

His experience in the travel and hospitality sectors includes a period as chairman and co-owner of the Michelin-starred L’Ortolan restaurant in Berkshire, and more recently as owner of the Michelin-starred New Angel restaurant in Dartmouth.

In 2014 Clive took a stake in and became chairman of leading luxury cruise business The Cruise Professionals. He steered the business through diversification into the broader premium travel space and driving significant growth after a relatively flat period.

As part of the process, the company was rebranded Tully Luxury Travel after its founder and CEO Mary Jean Tully, to reflect its expanded portfolio beyond cruising. It now offers world-class customer service through its three brands; Cruise Professionals, African Dreams and Private Travel Designers.  In 2018 Clive became co-owner of the business along with founder, Mary Jean Tully.


Awards & Achievements

In a career spanning nearly four decades, Clive has amassed a large number of personal awards and accolades in recognition of his business achievement and entrepreneurial drive.

2020

Jacobs Media Group received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its international growth.

2014

Clive was made an Honorary Fellow of The Tourism Society.

2008

He was instrumental in forming one of the country’s first destination management organisations, Visit Devon, serving as its first chairman.

2003

Clive was the youngest inductee to the prestigious Travel Industry Hall of Fame.

2000

Clive was honoured alongside 20 other industry leaders, including Sir Richard Branson, at World Travel Market’s Tribute 21 list.

1999

Clive was named ‘Director of the Year’ by Decision Magazine in association with PWC.

1997

He was awarded the World Travel Market Global Award for outstanding contribution to UK Travel.

1992

Clive becomes a founding Patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust

Clive provides thought leadership and keynotes at a number of industry conferences, think tanks and policy-making forums. He also takes a keen interest in mentoring and supporting young entrepreneurs.

To contact Clive please use the button below or email louise@jacobsmediagroup.com