Australian tours and activities platform Rezdy has released some stats from its clients which show that offline bookings are still way ahead of online, with mobile's share of these online bookings increasing very slowly indeed.
CEO Simon Lenoir presented the figures at Travel Tech 2014 in Sydney last week and shared the findings with Tnooz.
Rezdy broke down revenues and found that when monthly revenues peaked at A$12 million this summer A$7.5m was "manually entered offline", A$4 million came from supplier web sites and mobile with A$0.5m from agents.
"Most tour and activity bookings come from offline sources, because tours and activities are seen as being an afterthought, so they are booked in-destination. People will book through their hotel’s concierge, local VIC (visitor information centre), or just stumble upon a tour or activity when walking around."
Having said that, 60% of respondents to a survey said that online was the most important channel. But Rezdy, with an eye on methodology, admitted that the number of responses to its survey wasn't enough to draw any conclusions from, which prompted it to refer to its own actual bookings data.
This data was also able to show that mobile bookings are growing, accounting for 28% of online bookings this quarter. Mobile bookings have increased by 1% every quarter for the last 18 months or so.
But this 1% a quarter growth is relatively modest, considering the blockbuster growth that mobile is seeing across other markets and in other channels.
Elsewhere, Rezdy also shared an insight into the booking window for tours and activities and found that tours are not necessarily a last-minute consideration. It looked at 110,000 bookings and found that, in volume terms, 51.5% of bookings are made less than seven days in advance.
But the revenue picture is different, with only one-third of the cash from these bookings registered within seven days.
This disconnect with its observation above is explained by the concierge/VIC/on-the-spot bookings tending to be cheaper options, with the more expensive products booked and paid for in advance.
Tours and activities, described by Rezdy, as "the last frontier in travel", is one sector where the online tipping point seems some way off. The online giants recognise this - see TripAdvisor's purchase of Viator; traditional tour operators looking to increase their online presence recognise this - see TUI's purchase of Isango; the investment community recognises this - see GetYourGuide's latest round.
All that needs to happen now if for a sea-change in consumer behaviour, prompting travellers to start booking more of their tours and activities in advance, and everyone will be happy...
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