TripAdvisor has agreed to acquire Bokun in an effort to bring tours and activities suppliers to its distribution channel.
The Iceland-based Bokun was founded in 2012 and provides services such inventory channel and price management to suppliers in the burgeoning tours and activities sector.
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Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
In an interview with PhocusWire, Dermot Halpin, president of TripAdvisor Experiences and Rentals, says buying Bokun was a "big opportunity" to expose suppliers to TripAdvisor. "The idea of introducing Bokun is to be supply-focused to facilitate [smaller tours and activity operators] coming online," he says.
"It's in their interest and our interest. The more we have online, the more people will trust us."
After surveying options in the space, Halpin says Bokun was the "North Star" in the marketplace. "It's an excellent product in terms of how it solves the supply problem," he says.
A major selling point to get suppliers to use the product is the fee - which stands at a fraction, .1%, compared to the typical 5 or 6%. “We’re making it as close to free as possible. It’s very close to zero. The real thing you have to solve is making it easy," Halpin says
"We want to make the marketplace more liquid - take the friction away from suppliers doing business."
The challenge, even with Bokun, that TripAdvisor still faces is suppliers that simply don't want to go online. "There's not an awful lot we can do" in that scenario, he says, but "we're systematically identifying points of friction in the marketplace and going after them."
He adds that TripAdvisor is making its product available in multiple languages to make adoption as simple as possible
The acquisition comes just a day after Booking Holdings snapped up FareHarbor, the US-based tours and activities tech provider, also for an undisclosed fee.
"It's no surprise others try to get in on the action," Halpin says of the Booking deal. "For us, it's validation."
Tours & Activities Come of Age