OTAs, margins and supply - lessons for tours and activities from battles elsewhere
08/08/2019|9:16:17 PM|PhocusWire

Following hot on the heels of GetYourGuide's news of its Preferred Partner program, I thought it was a good time to look at what this means for the industry.

In truth, I’d written this article a week ago as I did not expect Tao Tao's announcement, but things are moving fast for tours, activities and attractions, and if you don’t keep up you risk being left on the sidelines.

This is as much true for operators as it is for technology companies serving the sector.

From a B2B perspective, this activity certainly ruffles feathers as pricing pressure, particularly in the notorious “long-tail segment," has increased.

It is reasonable to assume that this announcement will push it further. 

The main issue here is that online travel agencies are now dictating terms for this industry, while operators are increasingly losing control of how they distribute their products.

Capital is flooding into distributors who are fighting it out for consumer eyeballs, and this is a high-stakes game with plenty of subtexts.

So on reflection, the Fareharbor and Bokun acquisitions, and now Tao Tao’s announcement, are like pebbles dropping in the ocean.

A greater impact may have been more visible for operators as reservation technology is where they make their investments, but the startling change is the dramatic increase in booking share now generated by well-financed OTAs determined to follow in the footsteps of the airline and hospitality industry.

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