- Optimism for the future is high
- Recovery is still uneven
- Operators appear happy with Google Things To Do, so far
- Operators are less impressed with Viator Accelerate
- GetYourGuide hints at offering online ticketing solution for attractions
- Airbnb Experiences all but overlooked
Recovery in travel is picking up steam and confidence in 2022 was strong at the Travel Innovation Summit in Seville. Arival ran the Activities and Attractions Forum — a day packed with hundreds of attendees and full of speakers and panelists from across the industry. Here are our main takeaways.
Confidence in Travel’s Recovery is Strong
When asked for predictions on the post-Covid future for travel, there were few who didn’t say the recovery would occur in 2022. Those who disagreed said it was already here. Many operators, OTAs and distributors are reporting that they are at 80% of 2019 volumes.
The Recovery is Still Patchy
While optimism is high, there are many destinations that are not bouncing back quite as fast, and Covid numbers are on the rise again in several countries in Europe. Mediterranean Europe and the U.S. are strong. However, there are a lot of places that are still patchy or that are to fully reopen. Operators in these locations may need to be more patient, but travel is coming back.
Google Things To Do is Driving Traffic
Attraction operators seem pleased with Google Things To Do so far. Direct traffic is good, and there’s no commission — yet. This may change if and when Google rolls out promoted listings. There’s still some uncertainty as to how it will work as tours, activities and attractions are properly moved into the product.
Operators Are Negative on Viator Accelerate
In a straw poll of the full auditorium, only one person raised their hand when asked if Viator Accelerate would help small operators. Everyone is certain that Viator’s new advertising scheme will only help those with the ability to increase their commission rates. The playing field has never been flat, but now it is even more uneven.
GetYourGuide Experimenting With Restech
Chief operating officer Tao Tao said the company was experimenting with a white label ticketing service to help attractions improve their online booking capability. While Tao shied away from saying GetYourGuide would offer a complete ticketing service, other OTAs including Tiqets and Klook offer online booking engines for attractions, and GetYourGuide seems to be stepping into the arena as well.
What’s Airbnb Experiences?
Once a hot topic in our industry, Airbnb Experiences barely got a mention. It did not come up naturally in any session. Only one operator said they were receiving a significant volume of sales through the platform and there were questions over the alternative accommodation provider’s commitment to the sector.
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