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Clive Jacobs is a British businessman and entrepreneur. In 1988 he co-founded Holiday Autos Group, the first car rental broker in Europe, with Nick Stolberg and Gary Bacon. The company was later sold to lastminute.com plc. He is the owner and chairman of London-based publishing brands Travel Weekly (UK) and The Caterer.
Jacobs' first jobs included stints on building sites and in the fish department at Selfridges. His first role in the travel industry was as a messenger for a travel company. By the age of 21 he had set up and become managing director of his own flight company.
In 1987, after noticing that the sector was geared primarily for business travellers and not holidaymakers, Nick Stolberg and Gary Bacon founded Holicars and Sundrive. In 1988 they came together with Clive Jacobs and founded Holiday Autos, which sold a pre-bookable, pre-paid, fully inclusive product that was the first in the travel industry that pledged to be never knowingly undersold.
In 1995, Jacobs bought out his partners with the assistance of ECI Ventures. Holiday Autos went on to become a global operation, with sales offices in 30 countries. In 1999 it launched the first fully transactional car rental website.
In July 2002 Holiday Autos' headquarters was the subject of a three-part BBC2 documentary, The Secret Life of The Office. By 2003 it had won 68 awards in eight countries for both service and innovation. In that year Jacobs sold the company to lastminute.com plc for £43 million.
Other business interests
In 2007, Jacobs took a 50% interest in freeads.co.uk, an online classified website.
He bought the Michelin-starred New Angel restaurant and rooms in Dartmouth, Devon, out of administration and reinstated John Burton Race as executive head chef. In 2010 Jacobs sold the New Angel business to Richard Pursey and Alan Murchison of the 10 in 8 Fine Dining Group while retaining the premises.
In 2009, Jacobs founded Travel Weekly Group as a vehicle to acquire Travel Weekly (UK) and its associated brands gazetteers.com and Travolution and their websites and events portfolio from Reed Business Information (part of Reed Elsevier plc). He is chairman and owner of the group.
In 2012, Jacobs and former Thomas Cook executive and entrepreneur Terry Fisher, approached Thomas Cook Group, the second-largest holidays company in the UK, with £400 million of committed institutional shareholder funds for an emergency rescue of the group.
In the same year, Jacobs acquired Caterer and Hotelkeeper, also from Reed Business Information, operating it as a standalone but sister publishing operation to Travel Weekly Group. Both ventures are based in the same building in Victoria, London, UK.
In 2012, Jacobs' Travel Weekly Group acquired the Agent Achievement Awards, the leading travel agent awards programme, from Kingley Event Management, followed in 2014 by the acquisition of Kingley Event Management and its portfolio of events including the British Travel and Hospitality Industry Hall of Fame.
In 2013-14, Jacobs launched Connecting Travel, a dedicated online service for the global travel, tourism and hospitality community, and Connections, a portfolio of events to facilitate direct business relationships in the global travel industry.
In June 2014 he acquired travelGBI, the premier dedicated publication for the domestic travel and tourism sector in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Jacobs has won several industry accolades, including:
- World Travel Market Global Award – for outstanding contribution to the UK travel industry (1997)
- PwC and Decision Magazine Director of the Year Award (1999)
- World Travel Market Tribute 21 Award – for pioneering change in the travel industry over the previous 21 years (2000)
- Inducted into the UK travel industry’s Hall of Fame (2003)
- Honorary fellowship of the Tourism Society (2014)
Since 1993, Jacobs has been a patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust. In 2008 he was appointed the first chairman of Visit Devon, a newly formed destination management organisation responsible for promoting Devon to the world.
- "British Film Institute TV Database". 2002.
- "BBC News Channel Lastminute buys car hire firm". March 26, 2003.
- "Western Morning News Sharing the secrets of success with a millionaire and "born entrepreneur"". December 7, 2010.
- Mason, Rowena (July 9, 2009). "The Telegraph Holiday Autos founder picks up travel unit from Reed Elsevier". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "The Times When even £400m fails to bring sunshine". March 16, 2012.
- "Press Gazette Caterer and Hotelkeeper sold to owner of Travel Weekly Group". October 17, 2012.
- "The Tourism Society "Clive Jacobs made an honorary Fellow of the Tourism Society". February 26, 2014.
- "This is South Devon Jacobs takes chair to promote Devon". September 12, 2008.