Guest Communication for Innovation Showcase Win

Curated Planet won top prize at Arival’s inaugural forum for experiences innovation, which also featured Tourconnect, TourReview, TripAdmit & WeGoTrip

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When creative and forward-thinking members of the tours, activities and attractions space come together to share their innovations everybody wins, but it wouldn’t be as fun if we didn’t make it a bit of a competition.

Recently we held the inaugural Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase, sponsored by Stripe, at Arival 360 | Berlin to spotlight some of the most out-of-the-box thinkers in our industry. This showcase featured five companies who have developed innovative tech, tools and products for the in-destination experiences sector of travel. After each presentation, Arival attendees rated each presenter, crowning the crowd favorite “Most Innovative” winner.

Benjamin Sann, Founder and CEO of Curated Planet, took home the top prize at the inaugural Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase for his presentation on his company’s guest communication platform. The event also featured presentations from finalists TourConnect, TourReview, TripAdmit and WeGoTrip. Learn more about each of the companies and their innovations below.

Arival will be reprising the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase at the upcoming Arival 360 | San Diego, more details to follow.

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And the winner of the inaugural Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase is…

Curated Planet — Guest Communication Platform

Image: Curated Planet’s Founder and CEO Benjamin Sann (center) poses with Arival CCO Bruce Rosard and expert panelists James Lemon, Stephen Oddo, and Linda Fox for a congratulatory photo after winning the Innovation Showcase
Innovation Showcase winner Curated Planet’s Founder and CEO Benjamin Sann (center) poses for a congratulatory photo with Arival CCO Bruce Rosard and expert panelists James Lemon, GTM Global Industry Lead at Stripe, Stephen Oddo, Founder and CEO of Walks, Linda Fox, Senior Reporter at PhocusWire

The audience of tour, activity and attraction operators and other experience industry leaders was impressed with Curated Planet’s communications platform for tour operators, enough to crown the company “Most Innovative.” 

Curated Planet Founder and CEO Benjamin Sann presented on the platform, which addresses the challenge many operators have of keeping the lines of communication open with their guests before, during and after tours. Particularly with bookings coming in from multiple sources and distribution channels, managing these and ensuring details like departure times and locations are communicated clearly can be complex and time consuming.

“We combine all of these communication platforms that were previously in their isolated spheres — the Viator extranet, Civitatis extranet, the emails, Whatsapp threads, SMS threads — and we combine it into a single stream, and then we add automation on top of that, with all of the core data pulled from the restech or the custom systems from the operator,” explained Sann. “So the operator can use all of their core data to create custom communication flows and triggers that upsell, that lead to more reviews and even tips for guides.”

Founder and CEO of Curated Planet Benjamin Sann explains the challenges with guest communication his company is trying to address with their guest communication platform for tour and activity operators.

Watch the full Curated Planet presentation at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase on-demand here

Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase Finalists

TourConnect — Booking Automation Tool

Image: TourConnect Founder and President Michael Herrmann responds to a question from the Innovation Showcase expert panelists.
TourConnect Founder and President Michael Herrmann responds to a question from the Innovation Showcase expert panelists.

TourConnect Founder and President Michael Herrmann presented several products which use Generative AI to address problems and challenges he explained that he has experienced in his own tour company, Bonza Bike Tours. The products include “Clever Compose,” which uses Generative AI to generate email responses to customer inquiries as well as marketing content,  a booking automation tool that uses AI to automate manual reservation processes, and a revenue insights product which can help operators predict future bookings.

“I’m presenting these three individual products; that isn’t the innovation. The innovation is when these come together and then get fully woven into your business. That is the future and we’re really excited about it,” shared Herrmann.

TourConnect Founder and President Michael Herrmann presents his company’s GenAI-powered tools for tour operators at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase.

Watch the full TourConnect presentation at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase on-demand here

TourReview — Online Review Management

Image: TourReview CEO Jose Arozarena presents TourReview’s online review management system at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase.
TourReview CEO Jose Arozarena presents about TourReview’s online review management system at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase.

TourReview CEO Jose Arozarena presented a purpose-built software that helps tour operators manage their online reviews from all major platforms in one place, addressing the common problem of fragmented review data. This system was used to identify the top review-earning operators to select as finalists for the Arival TourReview Spotlight Awards.

Arozarena, who also founded Amigo Tours, shared how the importance of reviews for operators motivated him to start TourReview, which was launched last year at Arival 360 | Berlin 2023. “Our system helps companies improve their score, their quality, their reviews and their products, and by that they improve their revenue.” For tour and activity companies, having their own reviews for their products on their own website (rather than relying solely on Tripadvisor and Google reviews, for example) can also help improve direct bookings, as customers prefer to book products on websites with reviews, Arozarena explained.

TourReview CEO Jose Arozarena explains the importance of reviews for tour and activity operators the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase.

Watch the full TourReview presentation at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase on-demand here.

TripAdmit — Digital Tipping & AI-Assisted Reviews

Image: TripAdmit CEO John Maguire presents his company’s TipDirect product at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase.
TripAdmit CEO John Maguire presents his company’s TipDirect product at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase.

TripAdmit CEO John Maguire first launched his “Tap-to-Tip” product, which combines digital tipping functionality with generative-AI assisted reviews, at Arival 360 in Berlin last year. Now called TipDirect, TripAdmit has added new features based on feedback from tour and activity operators and guides over the past year since the product’s launch, including a “Social Connect” option which encourages guests to follow the operator on social media, and a “Tour Upsell” option which encourages guests to book another experience directly with the operator. 

“You can leave a tip and a review in under 30 seconds at the end of a tour,” said Maguire, explaining they have had hundreds of tour operators and thousands of guides sign up over the past year since launching. “The activity providers themselves were more interested in the review side of it, and the guides were interested in the tipping side, and what we’ve done is we’ve married the two sides together within one solution.”

TripAdmit CEO John Maguire explains how TipDirect works, enabling guests to tip their guide and leave a review in under 30 seconds.

Watch the full TripAdmit presentation at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase on-demand here.

WeGoTrip

Image: WeGoTrip’s Product Manager for Generative AI Vitaly Vinogradov presents his company’s product at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase
WeGoTrip’s Product Manager for Generative AI Vitaly Vinogradov presents his company’s product at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase

WeGoTrips Product Manager for Generative AI Vitaly Vinogradov presented an AI generated self-guided audio tour product that allows travelers to set parameters like location, duration, and tour theme and then enjoy an instantly generated narrated tour with route. With the tool, operators can deliver on-demand, customized self-guided tour experiences to their guests with an AI-powered personalized self-guided tour platform. 

The platform itself is a way for experience operators to offer a type of hyper-personalized product to the segment of travelers who might not be interested in booking a group tour or experience. “In addition to their standard services, like traditional experiences, [operators] can provide this kind of customized self-guided experience into their offers,” Vinogradov explained. “They can use this service to propose a more diverse set of services for their customers, and generate more revenue as well, because the audience is bigger.”

WeGoTrip’s Product Manager for Generative AI Vitaly Vinogradov explains the opportunity for tour and activity operators to reach a wider audience by offering customized self-guided experiences.

Watch the full WeGoTrip presentation at the Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase on-demand here.

Join the next Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase

Join us at Arival 360 | San Diego for the next Arival Experiences Innovation Showcase, and learn from the latest in experiences industry innovators. Interested in applying to be a presenter? Stay tuned for more details on how to participate.

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