The Phocuswright conference asked industry leaders how tours and activities would progress and change over the next few years. Held between November 15–17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Alice Jong led the panel discussion and opened with the question: “Are tours and activities still sexy?”
The Phocuswright discussion covers topics such as Expedia’s inability to take control of the market and their need to outsource their supply, how accommodation and experiences can work better together, and how to capture local travelers. Google, of course, also came up in discussion.
Christian Watts, CEO of Magpie and Skyline Sightseeing, said that a hybrid between Asian-style superapps and OTAs (online travel agencies) could work to increase the frequency of visits from locals and reduce the cost of acquisition.
All panelists were positive on Google’s Things To Do, which currently allows attractions and OTAs to sell tickets through Google Search. However, the execution of the product is not yet there and Google needs to provide more clarity for operators. Things To Do is expected to expand beyond attractions into tours and activities.
The chat moved onto mergers and acquisitions, and the possibility of consolidation in the reservation system market. Watts was surprised that reservation technology companies, as well as operators and OTAs, had survived through the travel shutdown. It was also a shock that there had not been more industry consolidation, Menchaca said.
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