Last week GetYourGuide co-founder and COO Tao Tao announced the launch of a new initiative designed to encourage tour operators to use one of two booking systems integrated with the online travel agency: Australia-based Rezdy or Berlin-based bookingkit.
Citing the need for independently owned reservation systems (a not-so-subtle dig at TripAdvisor and Booking.com, who acquired Bokun and FareHarbor, respectively, last year), the program offers “exclusive plans” for Rezdy and bookingkit, including up to 40% off for operators, depending on the volume of business. Other reservation systems, including Checkfront and TrekkSoft, were not invited to be a Preferred Partner. (Although GetYourGuide does connect through TrekkSoft.)
“Rather than follow the industry trend of acquiring a reservation system—which would compromise independence and stifle competition—we’ve chosen to collaborate with multiple technology companies, reaping the benefits of the partnership without risks to privacy,” said Tao in a statement.
But we wanted to know: What do operators of tours, activities, and attractions think of GetYourGuide’s Preferred Partners Program?
We reached out to learn myriad comments, concerns, and questions about the program—and to see if operators are considering using Rezdy or bookingkit as a result of the partnership.
For some operators already using Rezdy or bookingkit, the announcement didn’t have serious implications for how they do business.
“I’ve been using Rezdy for a few years now and like it. The integration with GetYourGuide doesn’t mean much to me at this point though I’ll certainly keep an eye on it,” says Robert Mayer, president of Arizona Party Bike. “I’d have to be leaned on heavily and convinced as to why it should make a difference since we haven’t done business with them so far and my experience with OTAs has been mediocre at best.”
“I am already a Rezdy and GetYourGuide user so I’m not sure what the benefit of this announcement has on me,” questions Brian Bergey, co-founder of Lost Plate Food Tours. “It looks like they have special pricing plans for new Rezdy users who are using GetYourGuide, but if I’m already a Rezdy customer do I get any special benefit? In general, this will not impact how I do business.”
(According to bookingkit Managing Director Christoph Kruse, current bookingkit customers don’t receive the Preferred Partners discount. However, he says, “The new technical superiority and the best connection to GetYourGuide are usable for all of our customers, therefore also our existing customers profit from the Preferred Partnership, but not from the special rate.”)
For Sara Robertson, founder of ScotBeer Tours, GetYourGuide’s new program is welcome in an increasingly aligned distribution market. “I think it’s healthy that they aren’t working exclusively with one partner—for them and the industry,” she says, adding that she has always had positive interactions with the OTA. “This news isn’t enough to make me want to switch but I do think it’s healthy for the market and could prevent a winner-takes-all situation.”
For other operators, there is a fair bit of skepticism surrounding GetYourGuide’s announcement. Namely, if operators don’t use a Preferred Partner, will they be penalized?
“Lately, my bookings through GetYourGuide have increased, and I don’t want them to go down because I don’t use Rezdy,” says Libby Segura Bollino, founder of the New Orleans-based Lucky Bean Tours. “I think the fact that GetYourGuide gets 25% should be enough.”
And despite the assurance that GetYourGuide won’t use operator data, there is still wariness over partnerships of any kind between OTAs and reservation tech. “I would worry that Rezdy or bookingkit would be data-sharing all our bookings data with GetYourGuide which for me is confidential,” says Oliver Mernick-Levene, co-founder and executive director for Secret Food Tours, who currently uses Ticketinghub as a reservation system. “Overall, I won’t be moving systems for this reason.”