Four Reasons Why Tour, Activity Operators Should Offer Guest Photos

This post from Arival partner PicThrive shows why – and how – operators can grow ancillary review and guest engagement through delivering digital memories

Reading Time: 2 minutes 32 seconds


Tour and activity operator sales of guest photos and videos are on the rise, offering more opportunity for ancillary revenue sales in 2022 through both online and on-location retail options. 

PicThrive looked at the digital album sales in 2019 and 2021 for hundreds of operators in North America to compare current trends with pre-pandemic data.*

The findings suggest those operators incorporating photo and video souvenir sales into their customer experience will continue to see positive returns.

1. Amid an uneven recovery, photo and video sales remain strong

From May to August 2021, total photo and video album orders grew 45% over 2019. This is in line with the strong performance of the outdoor, adventure and watersports sectors of tours and activities as the global travel industry emerged from the pandemic. While the growth picture is more uneven in 2022, photo and video upsells continue to be performing well. 

What does this all mean for operators? 

Total bookings may be down, but as we check in with customers this July, our marketing and sales reporting continues to see a positive trend on a per guest basis.

“Tour and activity customers are placing more value on experiences as we all get back to traveling, and as a result they are buying more photos and videos of their experiences,” says Co-founder and CEO Neal Belovay. “Operators should be taking advantage of this ancillary revenue opportunity, especially at a time when inflation is putting pressure on profits.”

2. Guests value a quality experience

Guests will pay a premium for the experience and convenience of easy access to great photos and memories.

As an operator, you don’t want to scare off guests by outpricing your albums. Plus, you want to ensure that part of the guest experience is leaving with a one-of-a-kind memento. But our data suggests guests may be willing to pay more for albums than you might think.

The figure below shows that more than 40% of albums sold at a price range of $20 to $60 in both the U.S. and Canada, in their respective currencies. And while the Canadian operators show higher shares in the lower price points, there’s even more activity for albums priced above $60. 

3. Guests who get photos also share them

Guests who have photos are more likely to share about the experience online and post those photos. One in every 10 guests who purchase digital memories share them in a review on TripAdvisor, Google Reviews or Yelp. Guests are choosing TripAdvisor over other review sites by almost two to one.

As an operator, you should make it as easy as possible for your guests to review their experience and share their photos online. Guests accessing photo albums via the PicThrive platform are able to directly share their purchased images to the three big review sites as well as several social media platforms. So it makes sense for operators to promote post-adventure engagement through their online photo gallery. 

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4. Online photo galleries offer another way to engage your guests 

Guests take time after their adventure to go back and keep enjoying their albums. They are most active in their albums Sundays (17.5%) and Mondays (16%), compared to Fridays (12.5%) and Saturdays (15%). 

Those brands offering an online gallery for purchased photos and videos are able to extend the guest experience, with additional touchpoints to continue the engagement. 

“Families are getting outdoors, living their best life, and want photos to cherish for a lifetime,” says Belovay. “The extended guest interaction with photos that we’ve discovered in this data is really just further proof guests value having those memories more now than ever. Those unique, hard to capture moments directly link to how photo sales can help protect your family business, because let’s face it, weather is unpredictable.”

Get the free ebook on guest engagement through photos

There’s more to learn from the guest behaviors and operator strategies of 2021. Through studying millions of photo retail transactions, we’ve uncovered interesting guest behaviors to help outfitters, adventure parks and adventure tour operators simplify selling photos and videos.

The PicThrive ebook has both the full 2022 Insights as well as a checklist to prepare for peak season. Get your free copy today. 

* PicThrive removed the 2020 data, due to all the pandemic-related shutdowns, so we have a more accurate view of what was happening when operations were active.

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