The massive tours and activities sector is finally going online, and it’s taking us all with it. Which leads to a crucial question: Are you ready to ride along?
Skift, the travel industry’s largest intelligence platform, recently released its “Future of Tours and Activities Tech and Marketing” report, detailing this very subject at length. And with Dana’s focus on travel and tourism, it really got us thinking.
In the report, Skift cites the sector’s estimated $200 billion annual spending power—meaning tours and activities remain the biggest untapped market in the digital travel industry. This substantial potential, naturally, brings some growing pains. A variety of technical and logistical challenges have surfaced. Among them?
- Increasing the digital availability of tour product inventory. Incredibly, due to a decidedly offline sales history under the “pen and paper paradigm,” many tour operators still don’t have a website or sell online. But these days, a website is vital to being visible and generating leads.
- The need to create mobile-friendly experiences. More and more travelers tend to book tours on the fly, after they’ve arrived to their destination, and they seek enhanced interactions.
- A fragmented industry. Tour suppliers sell a range of products—single- and multi-day tours to theme park and live event tickets to group tours to airport transfers—and non-standard merchandise makes comparison shopping tough.
Of course, with any challenge also comes a chance to evolve. Lots of tours and activities companies are solving these riddles, adapting with new business models, strategies and technologies.
Their emerging opportunities include:
- Marketing to both locals and travelers. Inbound vacationers aren’t the only audience in town. Residents love engaging with their home turf too. And the best part? Locals stick around lots longer, providing a year-round revenue stream. (The Dana team recently got a taste of local tours, thanks to Jersey Girls Food Tours, who chauffeured us around Jersey City for a day and showed us the value of these types of tours. What a holiday party we had!)
- Venturing beyond cookie cutter. Ambitious companies are setting themselves apart from competitors by offering the unexpected. Consider genuine, customized, DIY, boutique, niche and distinctive experiences. Take a cue from GoBe, a recently launched company that offers tailored, authentic, high-value and insightful tours.
- Maximizing through mobile. We’ve covered mobile marketing before—it’s been a growing trend in recent years, but now the tours and activities sector is catching up. Companies that make the leap to mobile find the benefits rewarding. At the very least, delivering mobile-friendly inventory can be profitable in bookings. But branded apps add that extra oomph, generating goodwill and word of mouth. They can inject details and context and also go so far as to help consumers connect with new friends, map the tour, record memories and share images.
We’d love to contribute to your next big industry move. Chat with Lynn Kaniper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.466.9187, ext. 117 today.