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Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) is an S&P SmallCap 600 company that operates businesses that provide place-based marketing services in United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as travel and recreation services in the United States and Canada. The company evolved from The Greyhound Corporation, which established Greyhound Lines and later became a diversified conglomerate between the 1960s and the 1990s.
|Formerly||The Dial Corp|
|Founders||Eric Wickman and Orville Caesar|
|United States, Canada, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates|
Viad Corp was founded in 1926 as Motor Transit Corporation after intercity bus operators Eric Wickman and Orville Caesar joined forces and consolidated several bus operations. By 1930, more than 100 bus lines had been consolidated and recognizing the need for a more memorable name, the company was renamed The Greyhound Corporation. The Greyhound name had its origins in the inaugural run of a bus route from Superior, Wisconsin, to Wausau, Wisconsin. While passing through a small town, Ed Stone, the route's operator, saw the reflection of his bus in a store window. The reflection reminded him of a greyhound and he adopted that name for that segment of the Blue Goose Lines. The Greyhound name became popular, and was applied to the entire bus network as well as the parent company.
In 1954, Greyhound established Greyhound Financial Corporation, the captive finance operation of the bus line. During the 1960s, Greyhound began its transformation into a conglomerate by diversifying into other industries: financial services (Travelers Express); food and consumer products (Armour and Company); food service (Prophet Company); restaurants (Horne's); airport services (Aircraft Services International); and ocean cruises (Premier Cruise Line).
Greyhound exited the transportation industry with the sale of Greyhound Lines in 1987. By then, The Dial Corporation (formerly, Armour-Dial, Inc., established in 1967 as a subsidiary of Armour and Company) was its largest subsidiary. Greyhound was renamed Greyhound Dial Corporation in 1990 and as The Dial Corp the following year. After the renaming, the Dial consumer business became known as The Dial Corp Consumer Products Group.
The company exited the financial services industry in 1992 with the sale of GFC Financial Corporation (including Greyhound Financial Corporation, Greyhound European Financial Group and Verex Corporation). In 1995, GFC Financial Corporation changed its name to The FINOVA Group, Inc. and Greyhound Financial Corporation to FINOVA Capital Corporation. The FINOVA Group filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and was dissolved in 2009.
In 1996, the company announced the splitting of its businesses into two entities. The Dial consumer products business was spun-off as the new Dial Corporation.
After the split, the company was renamed Viad Corp and consisted of companies involved in airline catering (Dobbs International Service); airplane fueling and ground handling (Aircraft Service International); convention and exhibit services (GES Exposition Services and Exhibitgroup/Giltspur); concession operations (Glacier Park, Inc.); contract food services (Restaura, Inc.); ocean cruises (Premier Cruise Lines); airport and cruise ship duty-free concessions (Greyhound Leisure Services); travel services (Brewster Transport, Jetsave, and Crystal Holidays); and payment services (Travelers Express).
By early 21st century, most of the businesses were sold except for Travelers Express, Glacier Park, GES Exposition Services, and Exhibitgroup/Giltspur.
In 2003, Viad began the process of engineering a reverse tax-free spinoff of Travelers Express. Thus, a new subsidiary was formed, MoneyGram International, Inc., which early in 2004 received the payment services business and its stock was distributed to Viad stockholders. Viad then conducted a one-for-four reverse stock split to increase the price of Viad shares.
Viad Corp currently consists of two business units: GES (an international live-event organizer) and Pursuit (travel attractions and hotels).
- GES (Global Experience Specialists, Inc., formerly GES Exposition Services, Inc.) is an international live-event organizer created in 2010 by merging GES Exposition Services, Inc., Exhibitgroup/Giltspur, and Becker Group.
- Pursuit (formed in 2017) includes travel attractions and hotels in and around Banff, Denali, Glacier, Jasper, Kenai Fjords, and Waterton Lakes National Parks in Canada and the United States.
Properties that Pursuit operates under its Glacier Park Collection include:
- Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish
- Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier
- St. Mary Lodge and Resort in St. Mary
- Stewart Hotel near Lake McDonald Lodge
- Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton, Alberta
Between 1981 and 2013, Glacier Park Inc. was also the concessionaire for Lake McDonald Lodge, Apgar Village Inn, Rising Sun Auto Camp, Swiftcurrent Inn, Many Glacier Hotel, Two Medicine Camp Store, and the red bus tours within Glacier National Park. The National Park Service awarded this concession to Xanterra starting in 2014. Glacier Park Inc. said the concessions contract accounted for about 40 percent of its business in the Waterton-Glacier area.
In 2012, Pursuit acquired the 162-room Banff International Hotel. Pursuit also operates other Banff and Jasper area attractions under the Brewster Travel Canada brand, including Banff’s 133-room Mount Royal Hotel, Jasper National Park's 32-room Glacier View Lodge, Banff Lake Cruises and the Banff Gondola. In late December 2016, the Mount Royal Hotel suffered fire damage. An outdoor equipment store within the hotel reopened in April 2017, while the rest of the hotel was scheduled to reopen in July 2018.
Pursuit's Alaska Collection includes:
- Denali Backcountry Lodge
- Denali Backcountry Adventure
- Denali Cabins
- Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
- Seward Windsong Lodge
- Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge
- Kenai Fjords Tours
- "Greyhound History-The Name Change". greyhoundhistory.com. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
- Lewis, Mary Beth. "Ten Best First Facts", in Car and Driver, 1/88, p.92.
- Hampson, Philip (30 October 1954). "The Road to Success". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
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- Penn, Mary Sue (7 December 1997). "The Last Stop". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
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- "Greyhound Dial Is Now Dial Corp". The New York Times. 6 March 1991. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
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- "Dial Corp. splits into two companies: Dial Corp. said it..." Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- "Viad Corp changes name of Vegas-based convention business". Las Vegas Sun. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- "Viad Corp Schedules Third Quarter 2017 Earnings Call". KTEN.com. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- Katz, Daniel. "Brewster attractions rebrand under 'Pursuit' name". Brewster attractions rebrand under ‘Pursuit’ name. Bow Valley Crag and Canyon. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- "Viad Corp announces new Pursuit brand". Pax News West. 1 March 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
- Cederberg, Jenna. "Glacier Park Inc. shocked by loss of contract". Missoulian. Missoulian. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- King, Danny. "Viad acquires Banff hotel". Travel Weekly. Travel Weekly. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- "BRIEF-Viad Corp hotel suffers fire damage". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Kaufmann, Bill. "Owner vows to rebuild historic Banff hotel after fire damages every room". Banff Mount Royal Hotel will be rebuilt says owner. Calgary Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Katz, Daniel. "'It's nice to be back': After several months, first store reopens after Mount Royal Hotel fire". First Store reopens after Mount Royal Hotel fire. Bow Valley Crag & Canyon. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- "Mount Royal Hotel". Historic Downtown Banff Hotel. Brewster Travel Canada. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- "Pursuit announces new leader for Alaska Collection". Alaska Business. Alaska Business. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- "Vancouver's FlyOver Canada sold to American Viad Corp". blooloop. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- Chan, Kenneth. "FlyOver Canada sold to Phoenix-based travel group ahead of global expansion". Daily Hive Vancouver. Retrieved 19 October 2017.