Watch: 3 Reasons Why There’s More to Distribution than OTAs

OTAs get a lot of attention, but they aren’t the only distribution option for tour, activity and attraction providers.


Dan Christian, Chief Digital Officer for The Travel Corporation (TTC)

Operators that sell multi-day packaged tours including flights, accommodations, on-ground transportation and local experiences are another channel that can help in-destination operators build their business.

This segment of the industry is booming. Multi-day packaged tour operators represented a $74 billion market in Europe and the U.S. alone in 2018, and growth is on an upward trajectory for 2019, according to Dan Christian, Chief Digital Officer for The Travel Corporation (TTC), the largest multi-brand travel company in the world. TTC’s 29 brands, which include industry leaders Trafalgar, Contiki and Insight, bring about 2 million customers to 70 countries every year.

Here are three key points on why and how in-destination providers can work with packaged tour operators, from Christian’s illuminating presentation at Arival Las Vegas.

  1. Packaged tour operators are a distribution channel that can help you build your business

Christian explained how partnering with global tour operators is an opportunity for in-destination operators to significantly grow their business through another distribution channel. He emphasized that OTAs aren’t the only distribution game in town.

“As opposed to being so focused, you should really be omni-channel, looking at every way you can grow your business, and the trade offers a massive opportunity for that,” he said.

  1. Packaged tour operators want to work with more in-destination providers

TTC already partners with thousands of in-destination operators offering a wide variety of experiences including culinary activities, bicycle tours, kayaking, skiing and snowboarding — and TTC tour brands want to do more.

“We want to hear from you about what types of products you have, the locations, and give us a sense of what the availability is,” Christian said, noting that while TTC brands look for specific qualities in in partnering with in-destination operators, size is not an issue. “Please know that we have partners that work with us that do thousands of dollars of business and we have partners that do tens of millions of dollars of business,” he said.

  1. Packaged tour operators need in-destination product to respond to changing consumer expectations

TTC brands and other global tour operators are looking to in-destination operators to provide experiences that reflect changing consumer expectations and travel patterns.

“The concept of multi-day touring or guided touring is an outdated notion,” Christian said. “Many of the companies that are succeeding today, that are being innovative and connecting with the customer, are making sure they are offering an experience that is very relevant, cultural, and engaging.”

For new and traditional destinations offered by TTC brands, “We are evolving the product experience to make sure we are truly offering what our guests and customers want,” Christian said. “How do we do that? From working with each and every one of you.”

To find out more about packaged tour operators and how they work with in-destination providers, watch Dan Christian’s Arival Las Vegas presentation on “The Other Tour Operators.”

“We are evolving the product experience to make sure we are truly offering what our guests and customers want. How do we do that? From working with each and every one of you.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


already a member?

Lost your password?


Become an Arival Insider

Included in Free Membership

Included in Arival Pro Membership

The Arival on-demand video library archive
Access to the entire library of over 150 video sessions and webinars

Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021. articles
Topical articles about marketing, tech, operator business and operator stories in all areas of tours, activities & attractions & experiences

Job board access
Find a job from our regular listings, post a resume to the talent network and learn strategies from the job resources articles

New webinars
Helpful, instructional sessions covering subjects such as Mastering Facebook Ads, Grow Your Business and How To Work With OTAs — topics to help advance your business.

Discounts on all Arival in-person events
20% Discount on all Arival in-person events (save up to $300)* based on business type

Arival ProShield – Insurance program
Access to tailored insurance solutions by Granite Insurance is available exclusively for Arival Insider Pro Access Members. Insider Pro Access Members also have access to a suite of resources from Granite Insurance including templates, forms and other informative documents.

Insiders Pro Access member exclusive webinars
Paid membership-only webinars to deepen your understanding of important industry topics.

Job postings & talent directory
Post jobs & connect with candidates most applicable to your business.

Private roundtables to connect, learn and engage
Small, focused and intimate discussions exclusive to Arival Insider Pro Access members.

Full access to Arival’s library of in-depth reports
Up to date, deep analysis of tourism topics ranging from Self-guided Tours to Sales & Distribution Trends and Outlooks, based on the data that defines the industry.

The latest on-demand videos
Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring hot topics in tours, activities & attractions

Insider discounts in digital marketing, tech, e-learning, and more
Save money on additional tools, services and learnings you need to run your business. Exclusive to paid members.

Membership Overview

At Arival, we believe travel can make the world a better place. Our mission is to establish and inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies in the In-destination Industry by providing opportunities to gain insight, share knowledge and build connections. To make it possible for true collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea exchange to thrive, we are committed to facilitating a welcoming and respectful community for all. This Conference Code of Conduct shares our community expectations and applies to all attendees, employees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and other participants at Arival- produced and sponsored events. We empower all participants in our community to actively engage in creating a friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.

Arival’s core values include the following, and create an expectation for conduct at our events and in online community spaces:

We demonstrate a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
We value integrity and strive to consistently interact with others in ways that are authentic, ethical, and fair.
We are dedicated to transparency, committing to clear, open and honest communication.
We actively pursue and advocate for inclusion, diversity and representation of varying cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ideas

Arival welcomes people from all cultural backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Accordingly, participants must refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, or intimidating behavior or materials that would interfere with others’ experience and participation in our community.

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or have any other concerns, notify an Arival staff member as soon as possible.

Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Arival reserves the right to refuse entry to or remove any party from any event or community space at any time when participation or behavior create a disruption or hinder the event or enjoyment of the event by other participants. All determinations are at the sole discretion of Arival, and the decision of the Arival team will be final. Severe breaches of this Conference Code of Conduct may result in disqualification from participating in future events. Individuals expelled due to violating this Conference Code of Conduct will not be eligible for a refund or other consolation.

If you have questions regarding this Conference Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us at [email protected].