OTAs growing on intermediation of activities during the journey

In-destination activities are the key to provide experience to tourists once at destination. There are several online platforms which already intermediate and sell them, such as GetYourGuide and Musement, which allow the users to buy attraction tickets, tours and events. Also targeted platforms are rising, such as Winnie.com, which specifically intermediates activities for families with children, and which raised 2,5 million dollars (about 2,4 million euros) in travel startup funding in November.

Tripadvisor published the TripBarometer Travel Trends 2016, surveying more than 34.000 Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boomer travellers where it discovered that 63% of responders want to try something new at destination, and 67% of them expect to learn something new. In compliance with this trend, OTAs started to adapt their offer to the tourist demand for experience. OTAs are no longer just intermediating transport and accommodation, but also in-destination events, trips, festivals and more. Last November, Airbnb launched Trips, a single platform to buy experiences, tours with local guides and to discover places to visit. Expedia.com added “Things to do” to its search engine, while Booking.com has “Destination Inspiration!”, which researches in-destinations attractions based on the customer preferences, such as history or nature. Also Kayak is integrating its search engine with results from GetYourGuide and Viator, acquired by Tripadvisor in 2014, and that now provides an attraction content tool to hotels and travel companies, which offers local tours and experiences to customers via online and mobile channels. Moreover, Tripadvisor purchased in August 2016 the social mapping application Citymaps, which focuses on points of interest. Google launched Google Trips, which has a section called “Things to do”, but has no booking capability yet, it is just informational.

According to the Tripadvisor report, 67% of tourists use mobile devices to look for activities while at destination. This orientation was implemented by Excursiopedia, which turned into PlanetPass, a mobile-only app which allows customers to find guided tours at destination.

At Twissen we observed that OTAs are integrating their intermediation models to face the tourists demand for experience once at destination. The new challenge is to intermediate the tourist purchases of services and activities during the journey, where a big portion of the holiday budget is spent.