This strategic direction makes us more accountable for the quality of our products than if we remained just another intermediary.
Quote from Johannes Reck, CEO of GetYourGuide, in an article on PhocusWire this week.
GetYourGuide tries the vertically-integrated strategy in activities race
The Germany-based online travel agencies for tours, activities and attractions have been fairly predictable in its ten-year history as a startup-cum-established player.
Launch with confidence. Raise a lot of money. Talk a good game. Find a position in a growing but competitive market.
But it finds itself in a sector that suddenly has a lot of interest from players with deeper pockets that are ready to ramp up their existing offering (such as Expedia) or see tours and activities as a part of a new strategy (such as Booking.com).
This week's announcement by GetYourGuide to become "vertically-integrated" (own the booking platform and provide the product) is a bold and interesting one.
There are plenty of questions that have emerged since about the potential impact of the move on the wider model of OTAs and tour product suppliers (such as those included in this excellent analysis from DestinationCTO) - but at a corporate level GetYourGuide should perhaps be applauded.
It has looked at the wider marketplace and realized that now is probably the right time to strike out in its own with branded tours, even if elements of which have been tried before many years ago although perhaps not on this scale.
This might trigger similar moves (it probably isn't THAT difficult to do) by its competitors, with Expedia, Booking.com and TripAdvisor/Viator all capable of something in the same vein.
But in an industry where in recent times being the first-mover often appears to be the best tactic, GetYourGuide has given everyone else something to think about.
The challenge for GetYourGuide will be when it faces another strategic decision: if successful, should it expand the product line beyond the 100 tours that it is currently aiming for by 2019.
It seems likely that it will probably need to do so, especially if the competition also enter the vertically-integrated model.
The question then for Reck et al will be whether this initial bold step can be followed by confident strides.