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Suppliers, beware: A threat lurks in tours and activities distribution

2019/8/7 10:10:16
We’re at the peak of 2019’s high season, and the market for travel experiences is hotter than ever.It remains the fastest-growing segment in all of travel and big trends continue to drive growth in this still-emerging space.
Some of these trends are well-known: for one, a healthy global economy producing a growing number of travelers with disposable income; for another, consumers increasingly preferring experiences over things.
A third and often less-visible reason is the rich diversity of tech solutions that tour operators can choose from. Dozens of options for managing availability, driving bookings and scaling business are at operators’ fingertips.
This diversity is a sign of a booming space, driven by healthy competition, that’s earning the trust of travelers around the world.But there is a growing threat to our segment’s future: the loss of independence in reservation systems, thanks to acquisitions by TripAdvisor and Booking Holdings.
Tour operators usually rely on a wide range of distribution partners, and tour operators take on a huge risk by handing over all their data and distribution power to a single OTA.We at GetYourGuide don’t think this is healthy for the ecosystem in the long-term.
Tour operators should ask themselves four important questions before working with an OTA-owned reservation system:
If the software is free or much cheaper than independent reservation systems, why? One learning from industries such as social media is that if you’re not paying with money, you might be paying with other things - like your privacy and your data.
Will this reservation system allow success across all my distribution channels? Smart tour operators will distribute their experiences across many channels, including their own website. But is it in the interest of the OTA who owns the reservation system that other channels succeed?
How do I know my data won’t be shared with the OTA? We think trust and data confidentiality between a tour operator and us, as an OTA, is very important. Anything that hinders trust threatens this relationship. But how can we all be 100% sure that the OTA-owned reservation system will never talk to its OTA owner?
How do I know the OTA’s strategy won’t change? While the OTA-owned reservation systems might have good answers in the short-term, how do you know this won’t change? As systems evolve, will developments requested by suppliers be weighed by the value or threat posed to the OTA parent company? Once you’re locked into a system, it is hard to get out.
Reservation systems play a critical role in our industry: They connect passionate tour operators with global distribution channels.Therefore, we think it’s important that our industry develops strong, independent reservation systems that are fully and exclusively aligned with the interest of tour operators.
If you’re not paying with money, you might be paying with other things - like your privacy and your data.
That’s why, today, we are announcing GetYourGuide’s Preferred Partners, a commitment to invest in stronger integrations with multiple reservation systems.
The program launches with two leading systems: Rezdy and BookingKit.
GetYourGuide will collaborate with our Preferred Partners to develop new features, find solutions for known industry pain points and troubleshoot quickly to set new standards for connectivity quality.
By choosing to partner with multiple technology companies, we are able to reap the benefits of partnership without risks to privacy.
While we will work with our Preferred Partners to drive innovation in the space, we support tour operators’ right to choose the best tools for their unique needs, and we will continue to support connectivity for all systems.
We believe tour operators should be able to serve all their customers with incredible experiences across all distribution channels. Only by remaining independent will tech providers be able to develop the right service for suppliers.The best reservation systems will serve tour operators in this effort.
Our sector is a diverse and complex ecosystem of independent players, each with a strong vision to create incredible experiences for travelers. There is an ever-increasing volume of new products, locations, customer markets, customization options and more.
This growing complexity is to be celebrated because it means more choice for travelers. We encourage tour operators to keep their customers top-of-mind in everything they do, and that includes selecting the right products and tools.The best part of every traveler’s trip depends on it

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