Is Arival for Small Operators?

How Arival helps operators of all sizes to grow their business. 

by | Sep 24, 2019

We started Arival three years ago with a pretty simple vision: Tour, activity and attraction operators, most of whom are small businesses, needed a forum they could call their own to network and learn about the key changes and issues facing them. 

As Arival has grown, we have been fortunate to attract the interest of some of the biggest brands and attractions in our industry. We’ve been humbled and excited to see attendees come from Disney, Universal, Merlin, Legends, Gray Line, Big Bus, City Sightseeing and many others. 

But we have also been asked by small businesses: “Is Arival for small operators? Is Arival really for me?”

We could see why some might ask that question. We have some big names on the program: senior executives of brands such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Universal and Marriott. But in fact, more than two-thirds of our attendees are from small and medium-sized businesses. The vast majority of this industry, the majority of tour and activity operators, are small businesses. (By the way, we at Arival are a small business as well.) We believe that only by supporting and elevating small business can our industry succeed. 

So we have designed the Arival program with smaller operators in mind. 

Several small operators will take the stage in our Theater, including Zakia Moulaoui, the founder and CEO of Invisible Cities, a not-for-profit that runs tours in Scotland and supports homeless communities. James Blick of Devour Tours, Sue Cooper of Lazy Dog Adventures, Phaka Hlazo of Zulu Nomad and Sweet John Muehlbauer of Your Biker Gang will all share their insights and learnings growing their operations or businesses.

Gus Moore of Miami Tour Company will share his perspective on distribution and growing direct bookings on a panel with Kelly McHugh of The Pacific Whale Foundation and Liz Gilbert of Entertainment Cruises. 

You can read more about Arival Theater program here

Here are a few more things we’re doing to support small operators: 

Pre-Arival Workshops on Technology & Distribution: On the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 28, we are offering two introductory workshops:

  1. An Introduction to Travel Tech & Distribution is designed to help small operators and first-time attendees not as familiar with online travel terminology get an overview so they can get the most out of their Arival experience. 
  2. How to Choose Your Booking Tech is a signature Arival workshop focused on giving operators a framework for evaluating the many technology companies they will meet over the next two days. 

Both of these workshops will be held back to back, starting at 3:30pm. You can read more about them on our workshop page.

First Timers Welcome is a new session we are launching, also on Monday afternoon, to help small operators and first-time attendees get the most out of their time at Arival. This session is scheduled for 2pm on Monday, Oct. 28.

Arival Workshops are for operators small and large. Arival is offering more than 20 workshops this year. While we choose and design the workshops around topics, such as working with online travel agencies (OTAs), managing online reviews, or improving social media advertising, we work closely with each presenter to ensure they understand the audience and design the discussion and specifics to include small operators. There are a few exceptions, such as our workshop on managing revenue, which may be more relevant for larger companies. At the bottom of each workshop description in the ConnexMe App is a “Who’s This For” sentence, which explains the intended audience of the workshop. You can read more about on our workshop page.

Specialty Spaces. This year Arival is launching new networking spaces dedicated to specific topics, such as Growing Your Business (sponsored by Peek), Direct Bookings (sponsored by TRK Creative), Content Marketing (sponsored by Magpie) as well as rooms dedicated to culinary tours and experiences and one specifically for operators who are more comfortable with Spanish. These will be new venues for operators to network with other operators and connect topics they are interested in. 

Are you a fan of the podcast Tourprenuer? Come meet host Shane Whaley at Arival Orlando, where he’ll be conducting interviews with operators large and small to learn about their business, and understand what makes them tick. 

The Arival program is designed to offer valuable insights and connections no matter how large or small your business is. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando, and if you’re still on the fence, we’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you might have. 

Want to see who is attending Arival Orlando 2019? Click here to see the breakdown of companies planning to be at the event. 

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