Ask Me Anything: Dermot Halpin, TripAdvisor Experiences

The president of the largest online travel agency in Tours, Activities & Attractions reveals why and how booking – and Bokun — are central to TripAdvisor’s long-term strategy.

Participants:

Dermot Halpin, TripAdvisor Experienes

TripAdvisor Experiences is the largest online travel agency (OTA) in the in-destination industry, and they have big plans. Every move they make – no matter how small – can have a significant impact on thousands of tour, activity, event and attraction businesses.

To kick off Arival 2018 this past September in Las Vegas, I sat down for a one-on-one interview with TripAdvisor Experiences President Dermot Halpin. This was the first time he’s spoken at a major industry event. In this extended interview, we dive into the state of the industry, the importance of online booking, why TripAdvisor acquired reservation system company Bokun, and the challenges they face in balancing the wants of consumers with those of tour and activity suppliers.

Bokun on Top

In a moment of authenticity often lacking on stage at industry conferences, Dermot revealed specific plans TripAdvisor has for Bokun and the operators that use the technology. He acknowledged that the company intends to preference Bokun users. In other words, tour, activity and attraction operators may find their ranking in search results lower than competitors that have opted to use Bokun.

It’s still very early days for digital in our industry, and much to sift through in this important announcement. For a complete picture of TripAdvisor’s plans for Tours, Activities & Attractions, watch the full interview with Dermot below. And don’t miss “either/or” – our closing word game that keeps Dermot – and me – guessing.

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