Suppliers, beware: A threat lurks in tours and activities distribution
08/06/2019|5:34:00 PM|PhocusWire

Travel experience remains the fastest-growing segment in all of travel and big trends continue to drive growth in this still-emerging space.

Some of these trends are well-known: for one, a healthy global economy producing a growing number of travelers with disposable income; for another, consumers increasingly preferring experiences over things.

A third and often less-visible reason is the rich diversity of tech solutions that tour operators can choose from. Dozens of options for managing availability, driving bookings and scaling business are at operators’ fingertips.

This diversity is a sign of a booming space, driven by healthy competition, that’s earning the trust of travelers around the world.

But there is a growing threat to our segment’s future: the loss of independence in reservation systems, thanks to acquisitions by TripAdvisor and Booking Holdings.

Two such purchases last year turned two leading reservation systems, Bokun and FareHarbor, into fully OTA-owned entities (the former by TripAdvisor; the latter by Booking Holdings).

These vendors say they will prioritize the best interests of tour operators over those of their new owners - but I am skeptical.

Tour operators usually rely on a wide range of distribution partners, and tour operators take on a huge risk by handing over all their data and distribution power to a single OTA.

We at GetYourGuide don’t think this is healthy for the ecosystem in the long-term.

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