Innovation, AI & Personalization Dominate Discussions at Arival 360 | Berlin

From featured sessions on AI & innovation to conversations with industry leaders & award-winning operators, here are the top themes from the latest Arival

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Recently in Berlin, nearly 700 experience operators, technology providers and other professionals from the in-destination sector gathered to talk all things experiences, travel and innovation. 

Innovation was a key focus of Arival this year, with speakers sharing theater presentations and leading breakout sessions and roundtable discussions on new technologies and tools, from the many developing uses of AI to digital marketing to dynamic pricing.

It’s not just about tools and technology either, though: as Claus Raasted from The College of Extraordinary Experiences emphasized during his theater session, it’s the whole approach to change and new ideas that matters. Experiences is one of the most insulated industries against AI, Raasted exclaimed to the theater full of tour, activity and attraction operators. It’s the human experiences that people come for.

This sentiment was echoed repeatedly by operators, particularly those who were recipients of the Arival TourReview Spotlight Awards: focusing on the people, making those human connections with guests and designing experiences that facilitate this human-centered approach are the ingredients for happy guests — and five star reviews. 

Here’s more on that and other highlights from Arival 360 | Berlin 2024:

Personalization Key Focus for European Arival TourReview Spotlight Award Winners

This year when we kicked off the event with the Arival Welcome Party, we also celebrated the first Arival TourReview Spotlight Awards ceremony for Europe. These new awards recognize excellence in guest satisfaction for operators of tours, activities, and visitor attractions, based on independent, unbiased analysis of guest reviews across major online travel and experiences websites (learn more about the awards here). 

What sets these operators apart? We interviewed many of the finalists and winners, asking them what they did to attract so many positive reviews, and a common theme in each of their responses was the emphasis on personalization. 

“We really focus on each and every customer,” said Chris Horsey, Director of The English Bus, “a lot of focus on personalized individual guests.” The English Bus won an Arival TourReview Spotlight Award for the Day Tours & Excursions Medium Operator category.

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners of the inaugural European Arival TourReview Spotlight Awards. Meet the winners here!

TikTok Rises to #2 Spot for Traveler Discovery and Other Research Insights

During the opening theater session, Arival CEO Douglas Quinby shared the latest research on the experiences traveler, and what this means for operators: how they are spending (hint: they’re spending more on experiences), what they are booking (hint: seven experiences per trip on average), how they are discovering things to do (hint: TikTok has risen to the #2 spot), and more. 

Arival CEO Douglas Quinby shares the latest research insights on the experiences traveler in the opening theater session at Arival 360 | Berlin 2024

Insider Pro Access members can learn more in the latest Arival report series, with focused reports on Today’s Tour Taker, The Top Brands in Tours & Activities, Travelers’ Top Spots for Posting Reviews, and more.

Arival 360 | SAN DIEGO 2024

30 September – 3 October 2024

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Packed House for Google, GetYourGuide Sessions

After the opening session, the two sessions that drew the most attention were, first, the session on Google with Emmanuel Marot, Director of Product Management at Google. Marot discussed Google’s latest AI release, Gemini, and fielded questions on the potential implications for the travel industry. 

Google’s Emmanual Marot discussed Gemini AI and fielded questions from Arival CEO Douglas Quinby and a number of attendees

Registration was also sold out for Arival’s first “Lunch and Learn” event, with GetYourGuide CEO Johannes Reck in the hot seat for an extended conversation with Douglas Quinby. They discussed the journey of GetYourGuide through its founding until now, profitability and the question of a potential IPO, balancing work and family life, experimenting with and integrating AI into the platform, and more.

GetYourGuide CEO Johannes Reck discusses his journey starting and growing GetYourGuide and becoming a dad, fielding questions from Arival CEO Douglas Quinby and several audience members.

Innovation Showcase and Audience-Selected Winner

The first Arival Innovation Showcase featured short “Innovation Idea” presentations, where we learned about the latest innovations in technology and business, directly applicable to the in-destination experience industry, and how they can benefit operators, attractions and resellers, and could even change how we are tackling our industry’s biggest challenges. Learn more about the showcase here.

Michael Herrmann from TourConnect, John Maguire from TripAdmit, Jose Arozarena from TourReview, Benjamin Sann from Curated Planet and Vitaly Vinogradov from WeGoTrip each took the stage for a five minute presentation followed by several minutes of target questions from a panel of experts. 

In the end, by audience vote Benjamin Sann’s presentation on automating guest communication was chosen as the “most innovative” crowd favorite. Congratulations to Curated Planet!

Benjamin Sann from Curated Planet presented about innovation in guest communication automation at the Arival Innovation Showcase, and was awarded “Most Innovative” by audience choice.

28-30 APRIL 2025

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THE event of the year for the European in-destination experiences industry

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Roundtable Discussions, Attractions Forum, Making Connections & So Much More

There was so much going on at Arival 360 | Berlin this year, it’s impossible to sum up in a few hundred words. 

One thing we experimented with, based on attendee feedback from previous events, was changing the format of many of the breakout sessions from presentation-style to roundtable discussion-style. Operators gathered to discuss everything from working with OTAs and practical uses for AI, to pricing strategies and experience design.

Operators discuss different ways to innovate on experience design in a roundtable discussion with Claus Raasted from The College of Extraordinary Experiences

We also held the first Attractions Forum for a European Arival event, where attractions industry professionals gathered to discuss issues impacting attractions in particular, from variable and dynamic pricing, to working with distributors and resellers, to managing and distributing content. 

Leaders from the attractions sector gather to discuss pricing strategies and the shift to variable dynamic pricing in the Attractions Forum at Arival 360 | Berlin

And of course a big highlight of the event was, as always, the new and renewed connections, networking opportunities, and celebrations happening from the Welcome Party through the networking lounge all the way to the post-event wrap-up party at the incredibly cool venue Fotografiska

The Future of Arival: Europe 2025!

We’ve enjoyed a good run in Berlin, but we know the experiences industry likes to experience new things and new places, and so do we! So we’ve explored some different options and locations for Arival Europe in 2025, and we’re very excited to announce during the opening session in Berlin our new location in Europe for Arival 360 in 2025: Valencia, Spain

Announcing Arival’s 2025 location for Europe. Get your tickets for Arival 360 | Valencia 2025 now and take advantage of the Launch Special rate!

Announcing Arival’s 2025 location for Europe. Get your tickets for Arival 360 | Valencia 2025 now!

Didn’t make it to the event or already looking forward to the next one? Tickets for Arival 360 | San Diego, Arival | Activate Edinburgh and Arival 360 | Valencia 2025 are available now! Arival Insider Pro Access members can also get on-demand access to theater sessions here.

Become an Insider Pro Access member today and save 20% on Arival 360 Berlin. You also get access to the full library of Arival research, plus many other benefits such as free consulting sessions and special discounts from our partners, starting from $179 per year.


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