The tours and activities segment has garnered a lot of interest in 2017 with startups gaining traction, huge funding rounds and even the launch of Arival, a dedicated conference for T&A. Here tnooz provides some industry perspectives on key trends witnessed and what to expect in 2018.
BookingKit CEO Christoph Kruse on 2017:
"The tours and activities sector is certainly the winner this year. The volume of investment has never been higher in both B2C and B2B platforms. Investment has doubled compared to funding over the last six years and has now reached an all-time high with investments both in B2C and B2B companies.
"For me it’s a strong signal in the right direction. Currently, less than 25% of the experience sector, estimated at $130 billion worldwide, is digitized. Non-industry players have finally recognised the potential in 2017 and entered the market. Airbnb, Marriott, Expedia, booking.com and even cruise companies like Royal Caribbean are investing in this growing market and made their acquisitions or started to integrate T&A content. According to Phocuswright, it is the fastest-growing sector in the tourism industry – and that was proved within this year!
On what we can expect to see in 2018 in tours and activities:
Kruse says he believes there will be consolidation.
"I do expect further big investment rounds. The latest fundraise for GetyourGuide or Klook of up to $75 million is definitely a positive signal for the tours & activities market. I expect significant funding to continue – also in the B2B part of the industry - and lead to a consolidation of the market in 2018.
"Former “champions” of the industry are now under pressure due to the entry of new players, and it will be interesting to see which alliances occur. But one thing is certain, the T&A market will remain one of the most exciting in tourism, if established and new/startup companies grow together."
Frontdesk Anywhere CEO Joe Kierman adds his perspective on how hotels can get a slice of T&A action:
"The tours and activities space is going through a coming of age in terms of technology and hotels are cashing in. The selling of activities is increasingly crucial for boutique properties as it helps them offer unique experiences while providing data for guest personalization.
"FareHarbour for me is the stand out player and has recently launched a predictive pricing platform powered by Artificial Intelligence. When we integrate Machine Learning into the travel industry, we also improve the customer experience as well as provide a sense of personalization to each one of them. Big Data, AI, and Machine Learning have been heavily used buzz words for a number of years now, but we are finally starting to see real customer solutions powered by these new technologies."
An airline perspective on 2017 and the coming year
The top 10 travel technology and distribution stories in 2017
Image by Jeff Smith