OCTO Association Launches to Advance Connectivity Standard for Tours, Attractions

The new, non-profit industry association aims to make connectivity for operators, attractions and resellers in the travel experiences sector easier and more efficient

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A consortium of booking and ticketing system providers, distributors, operators, attractions and other companies have formed OCTO, a new non-profit association. The organization’s mission is to advance technical connectivity standards for travel’s third-largest sector.

“The technology and distribution landscape in tours and attractions is incredibly fragmented…. A standard specification would significantly reduce the cost for many companies in our industry to connect to more partners and grow the industry.” – Carrie Keplinger, Vice President of OCTO

OCTO stands for Open Connectivity for Tours, Activities & Attractions. The association provides an open source specification (the OCTO Spec) to enable reservation and ticketing system providers and tour, activity and attraction ticket resellers to connect their systems to online travel agencies (OTAs) and other resellers

“The technology and distribution landscape in tours and attractions is incredibly fragmented, with hundreds of technology providers, in-house technologies and many hundreds of resellers,” said Carrie Keplinger, EVP of Go City and OCTO Vice President. “This has required each company to invest in new API development every time they want to connect to a new partner. A standard specification would significantly reduce the cost for many companies in our industry to connect to more partners and grow the industry.”

OCTO is a non-profit, 501c3 association formed by and for the tours, activities and attractions industry. OCTO does not provide an API, channel manager or connectivity infrastructure or services, nor does it charge for any services. The specification and documentation are available on the OCTO website.

The organization is actively seeking members from across the industry to participate in the development of the specification. OCTO is also seeking representatives from tour and activity operators and visitor attractions to participate on the Operator Advisory Committee and have direct input on the specification. There are currently more than 30 member companies. The full list is published here

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Members Meeting at Arival Las Vegas

The association will hold its first members meeting on October 10, 2022 from 12:30-2:30pm at the Paris Hotel at Arival 360 | Las Vegas. This meeting is for OCTO members; non-members may attend and observe for a $50 registration fee at the door, which can be applied to a future membership.

There will be an Introduction to OCTO session open to all, immediately after the members meeting, at 2:30-3pm.

“Tours and attractions is a very competitive sector. As an industry trade association, OCTO is committed to transparency, impartiality and ensuring that the work of the organization benefits all of the industry fairly,” said Stephen Joyce, Head of Solutions at Holibob and OCTO Secretary/Treasurer. “To that end, we have adopted an OCTO Code of Conduct and association bylaws which detail every member’s responsibility to fairness and the organization’s commitment to transparency and avoiding conflict of interest.”

Disclosure: Arival is one of the founding members of OCTO, and Arival CEO Douglas Quinby serves as president of the board of directors. OCTO is an independent non-profit 501c3. More information about the organization, including current members, the board of directors, and the organizations by-laws can be found on the OCTO website.

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