Distribution Must be Understood by Operators: Arival Panel

Getting to grips with both off- and online distribution is one of the most important things an operator can do

Distribution Must be Understood by Operators: Arival Panel Ben Finch
Reading Time: 3 minutes 5 seconds

The complex web of off- and online distribution needs to be understood by small operators, the Arival @ TIS conference heard on Thursday. While complicated, this is essential for operators to succeed as the pace of digitalization increases.

Distribution channels are fragmented, but replicate those seen in both hotels and airlines, Enrique Espinel, COO of Civitatis said. As in those markets, competing distributors will often be partners. 

Therefore, an operator will be able to distribute their products through reservation systems and channel managers that enable multiple connections to OTAs and B2B distributors. 

B2B distributors will provide operator content to travel agents, hotels and accommodation, and airlines, among others that sell direct to the consumer.

Arival 360 | SAN DIEGO 2024

30 September – 3 October 2024

Insider Pro Access Members Save 20%

THE event of the year for solutions-focused In-Destination Experience
creators and sellers

Save up to $820 with the Super Early Bird ticket

Learn More

Peter Syme, founder of Splash White Water Rafting, said that a small operator is unlikely to need a channel manager to provide these connections. 

“A restech has the connections that I need and allows me to do the pricing I need to do. So for a small operator, I really don’t see the need for a channel manager. For other sectors of the industry — attractions and high volume — I would be using a channel manager.”

Channel managers provide multiple connections to OTAs and distributors. They may also run their own B2B marketplaces for operators to distribute their products. In theory, a channel manager will also allow operators to control pricing and availability on different channels.

This is common for channel managers in the hotel industry. However, the technology is still young and developing in tours, activities and attractions.

Visibility Set to Become Pay-to-Play

Gaining visibility on an OTA will often come down to operators making sure they are receiving good reviews, the content and pictures provided to an OTA about a tour, and availability. 

But visibility will become pay-to-play, Nishaknk Gopalkrishnan, chief business officer of TUI Musement said. Viator has made moves to further monetize its platform on top of commissions through a listing fee, and now through its Accelerate program

Accelerate will allow operators to increase their product visibility across Viator by increasing their commission. It does not affect search rankings. The program has not yet been launched worldwide.

This was seen as being bad for small operators by the panellists, and much of the audience.

“Marketing contributions or advertising funds are not unheard of,” Gopalkrishnan said. “They’ve always been there offline.This is just a way to bring it online, bring more visibility, and give people a way to have more control over their demand on that platform. 

“I think the bigger attractions, bigger operators may benefit from it. But if you’re a smaller operator, I don’t think it’s going to be a good thing for you. You’re gonna lose more visibility on their platform.”

Google Things To Do Traffic is Good

The conversation was more positive as it turned to Google Things To Do. Traffic is still low, but good and everyone expects the product to be improved. The difficulty will come when it moves into displaying tours, activities and attractions because of the variety and complexity of products.

Is it a threat to OTAs? ”I don’t see it as a threat,” Gopalkrishnan said. “I think it’s a benefit because Google has always said that they are not going to be in the fulfillment business. They are always going to be about providing the best customer experience and then connecting out to OTAs. So it’s not a threat. 

“I think it’s good. It’s probably gonna help the OTAs for the first 12 months. We have the entire technology infrastructure to support the Google feed and to really be active over there.”

From an operator’s perspective, the most important thing will be a button that says: “Book direct,” Syme said.

GET ON THE LIST!

Sign up to receive insights tailored for the in-destination industry as well as updates on Arival.

Sign Up

trending

THE ARIVAL INSIDER PRO ACCESS MEMBERSHIP; YOU GET ALL THIS TO HELP YOU ADVANCE YOUR BUSINESS.

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

Arival.guides
Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021.

Arival.travel 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
ARIVAL CODE OF CONDUCT​
CONFERENCES AND COMMUNITY SPACES​

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].


Get on the List
Sign up to receive insights tailored for the in-destination industry as well as updates on Arival.
  *
 *
 *
 *
 
 
You can sign up to receive email updates from topics that may interest you.
*Required fields
Note: It is our responsibility to protect your privacy and we guarantee that your data will be completely confidential.