Launched earlier in 2019, easyGuide joined the suite of orange-hued easy brands, best known for the low-cost European airline easyJet. What started with 200 London-based product offerings, the online travel agent (OTA) is primed to now expand into other European cities—and compete with well-known OTAs by leveraging the easy brand.
The launch of this airline OTA for tours, activities and attractions comes on the heels of AirAsia’s move into tours, activities and attractions. But does a strong airline brand mean easyJet travelers will flock to their activity offerings? How will easyGuide fare next to the much bigger fish in the European market, such as TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide and TUI? And most important, should operators consider adding their tours to easyGuide’s product catalog? We caught up with Blake Reddy, CEO of easyGuide, to get the scoop on the future of easy travel.
How did the idea of easyGuide manifest?
After spending a bit of time traveling around Europe, and visiting various cities for business and pleasure, I often wondered why the relationship with easyJet never went toward in-destination. It always ended with a flight primarily, and this seemed like a missed opportunity given most people use easyJet to travel to places for pleasure.
Many know easyJet as a budget-focused airline. As part of the easyJet family of brands, will easyGuide similarly offer budget tours, activities and attractions?
Relatively speaking, we’re looking at a curated catalog of products that are inherently price friendly. But in terms of pricing themselves, we’re limited in what we can offer because they’re other people’s products. We can’t undercut our supplier partners. That goes against the terms and conditions of most agreements we sign. So unfortunately there’s not a huge amount we can do to reduce costs. What we can do is curate a catalog of products with prices we believe are well-suited to the customers we’re trying to talk to.
What types of products is easyGuide going to offer?
We have 200 activities in London and many of them are your bucket list activities such as the London Eye and Buckingham Palace. But we’re also looking for unusual, niche experiences and tours as well. Things that even if you’ve been to London a few times before or if you’ve lived in London for a few years they would still be of interest. We have, for example, some interesting food tours around London that are separate from the typical experiences.
I understand you’re planning to expand offerings outside of London?
Yes, exactly. We currently have London activities showcased on the website, and we’re working to launch an application for iOS and Android in the coming weeks. After the summer months is when we expect to continue to enter other cities around Europe, including Paris and Barcelona.
What’s the main way you’re finding supplier partners?
This is one of the benefits of the easy brand. We’ve had a lot of operators ranging from those in France to Egypt reach out to us requesting to partner up, and of course we reach out to suppliers who we think would do well on our platform. We’re also offering competitive commission rates for tour operators (I can’t give you the exact rates, however).
What’s your plan to compete with large, established OTAs such as TripAdvisor and GetYourGuide?
There doesn’t seem to be one online travel agent company that resonates with consumers at the moment, even though companies like GetYourGuide have significant valuation now. It’s unlikely that consumers in general think of them as the one brand to go to for booking their in-destination tickets. Millions of people are flying with easyJet around Europe. So when they get off these flights we’d like them to think of us as the brand to book their in-destination experiences. One part of the brand that’s really nice is that we have these bright, obvious branding colors.
We expect to see our brand resonate with these consumers a little more than the likes of a company that doesn’t quite have our brand power.
One of our big suppliers in London has been keen to give us iPads branded with the easyGuide colors. We’re hoping to create kiosks in various destinations such as inside receptions in easyHotels and in easyBuses. This is another potential consumer touchpoint.
Are you planning to integrate directly with certain reservation systems?
We do have a mixture of connections at the moment. We are working with Bokun, and other channel managers. We are also integrating directly with the API of suppliers, if they have one, and if they don’t we can manually update products if that’s the most suitable solution with them.
Is there a plan to operate tours under the easyGuide brand?
Yes, absolutely. When customers get off an easyJet flight, they can also choose an easyGuide tour. Our guides will be dressed in our bright orange branding to communicate we work in-destination, too. These self-branded tours help emphasize our branding.
How can operators partner with easyGuide?
We want to make sure product reviews are positive and have a good average rating. The more unusual tours have a place on our platform whether its an unusual food tour or a niche experience. That’s something we are keen to be happy with.
If tour operators are interested in working with easyGuide, they should reach out directly to us to start the conversation.