Watch: 3 Reasons Why There’s More to Distribution than OTAs

by | Feb 13, 2019

OTAs get a lot of attention, but they aren’t the only distribution option for tour, activity and attraction providers. Operators that sell multi-day packaged tours including flights, accommodations, on-ground transportation and local experiences are another channel that can help in-destination operators build their business.

This segment of the industry is booming. Multi-day packaged tour operators represented a $74 billion market in Europe and the U.S. alone in 2018, and growth is on an upward trajectory for 2019, according to Dan Christian, Chief Digital Officer for The Travel Corporation (TTC), the largest multi-brand travel company in the world. TTC’s 29 brands, which include industry leaders Trafalgar, Contiki and Insight, bring about 2 million customers to 70 countries every year.

Here are three key points on why and how in-destination providers can work with packaged tour operators, from Christian’s illuminating presentation at Arival Las Vegas.

  1. Packaged tour operators are a distribution channel that can help you build your business

Christian explained how partnering with global tour operators is an opportunity for in-destination operators to significantly grow their business through another distribution channel. He emphasized that OTAs aren’t the only distribution game in town.

“As opposed to being so focused, you should really be omni-channel, looking at every way you can grow your business, and the trade offers a massive opportunity for that,” he said.

  1. Packaged tour operators want to work with more in-destination providers

TTC already partners with thousands of in-destination operators offering a wide variety of experiences including culinary activities, bicycle tours, kayaking, skiing and snowboarding — and TTC tour brands want to do more.

“We want to hear from you about what types of products you have, the locations, and give us a sense of what the availability is,” Christian said, noting that while TTC brands look for specific qualities in in partnering with in-destination operators, size is not an issue. “Please know that we have partners that work with us that do thousands of dollars of business and we have partners that do tens of millions of dollars of business,” he said.

  1. Packaged tour operators need in-destination product to respond to changing consumer expectations

TTC brands and other global tour operators are looking to in-destination operators to provide experiences that reflect changing consumer expectations and travel patterns.

“The concept of multi-day touring or guided touring is an outdated notion,” Christian said. “Many of the companies that are succeeding today, that are being innovative and connecting with the customer, are making sure they are offering an experience that is very relevant, cultural, and engaging.”

For new and traditional destinations offered by TTC brands, “We are evolving the product experience to make sure we are truly offering what our guests and customers want,” Christian said. “How do we do that? From working with each and every one of you.”

To find out more about packaged tour operators and how they work with in-destination providers, watch Dan Christian’s Arival Las Vegas presentation on “The Other Tour Operators.”

“We are evolving the product experience to make sure we are truly offering what our guests and customers want. How do we do that? From working with each and every one of you.”

Dan Christian

TTC

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