There’s More to Distribution than OTAs

National Tour Association president Catherine Prather weighs in on the 2023 outlook for multi-day tours, and how day tour and activity operators can sell into multi-day tour and package travel companies

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With all the attention on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) as the main distribution channels for tours, activities and attractions, it’s easy to overlook other distribution options that might be closer to home.

Recently at Arival 360 | Las Vegas, I connected with Catherine Prather, president of the National Tour Association (NTA), on the opportunity for day tour and activity experience providers to collaborate with multi-day tour operators.

NTA president Catherine Prather speaks with Arival editor Janelle Visser on the outlook for and collaboration opportunities with the multi-day tours sector

“There is so much opportunity for the experience providers of day tours to collaborate with multi-day tour operators,” says Prather. “Tour operators right now, many are building individual experiences within their group itineraries, and flexibility in choice is something they are doing now more than ever, so they need quick access to those kinds of amazing experiences.”

For operators of day tours and activities, one of the benefits of connecting with multi-day tour operators is they may be able to give you “volume business in bulk,” explains Prather. For example, rather than 25 individual clients, a multi-day tour operator could provide 25 transactions in one.

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Prather also discusses the outlook for multi-day tour operators in 2023, and what the sentiment is among NTA’s North America-based multi-day tour operator community. 

“We just conducted a survey with our tour operators and more than two thirds of them say that their 2023 bookings are either meeting or exceeding their expectations,” she shares.  

Finally, Prather shares her thoughts on the potential for the tours and activities sector to connect cultures and support local communities. “I love the intrinsic value of travel, connecting cultures and opening minds and broadening horizons. I really do think that authentic experiences where we can really support local communities and also spread out visitation, I think that’s critical and I think this sector is very important in that realm so that gives me a lot of positive energy about this sector.”

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