2018 was a big year in the tours and activities sector and we discussed this in our recent webinar with Olan O'Sullivan, our CEO, and Jason Roe, our CTO. They shared their thoughts about industry changes in 2018 and how TrekkSoft plans to keep our customers at the top of their game.
Here are some highlights from the webinar.
Evolving consumer habits
1. Emerging markets and group tourism
Group tourism from emerging markets is quickly transforming the tourism landscape. This type of travel is particularly popular amongst first-time travellers and is growing exponentially.
We expect this to change in the next 10 years as consumers develop more sophisticated travel preferences. So while the first trip may be a whistle stop city tour, the second is more likely to be independently booked and more focused on the traveller's interests.
We see this growing sophistication with the rise of modular travel and CTrip's success in launching their Customised Travel platform. Consumers can enter their budget, travel dates and preferred activities while travelling and the platform shares this data with thousands of “customisers” (also known as travel agents) who create an offer that meets these requirements.
We already see this with traditional European and North American consumers who are less focussed on key attractions and crowds, and more focused on authenticity and experiences.
In many respects, we see these two segments overlapping heavily in the coming years as technology enables suppliers to better map their offerings to end consumer demand and hopefully unlocking bottlenecks such as Museum queues and the consequential overtourism backlash.
Download your copy of Travel Trends Report 2019 to learn more about upcoming trends in the industry.
Independent vs OTA supplied booking systems
2018 was the year of big acquisitions with large online travel agencies (or OTAs) like TripAdvisor Experiences and Booking Holdings acquiring of Bokun and FareHarbor respectively.
What does all this mean? For starters, it indicates a huge interest in supplier services from large players in the industry. There's also a lot of interest in enabling live availability between suppliers and resellers to automate the process between enquiry, booking and confirmation.
However, using OTA supplied booking systems are not always a great idea.
1. Your goals are not always aligned
While OTAs aim to maximise the revenue they generate from consumers and can be great a marketing channel for your products, your goals and their goals may not always align. For example, in July when you are overwhelmed with demand, why would you want to even offer seats to an OTA (and pay a 25% commission), when you can sell them yourselves?
2. You're giving them access to every part of your business
We strongly believe that you should not give the management of your business over to OTAs. It’s akin to using a bookkeeping software supplied by the government. You're giving them access to all the detailed parts of your business.
3. You limit the number of distributors you can work with
In the past, working with 3rd party channels was cumbersome so you needed to pick a handful of distributors to work with. With today's technology, this process is a lot easier and allows you to work with a lot more distributors for the same level of effort.
TrekkSoft as an independent booking solution is able to form as many partnerships with as many OTAs as possible, giving you the freedom to choose who to work with. You could work with a regional OTA such as Klook to attract Asian consumers or a specialised travel agency that sources products from Hotelbeds.
What does this mean for TrekkSoft?
TrekkSoft's goal is to help you grow profitably and sustainably, and that means providing you with the tools to ensure you convert website lookers into bookers while also allowing you to widen your distribution at an acceptable margin for your business.
This 2019, we are renewing our commitment to our customers. Your voices and your businesses will be front and centre of every decision we make.
To get conversation and communication started, we first need to be more transparent with our users. We’ve published our Product Roadmap for the first quarter of 2019 so you know what to expect from us in the coming months. We hope that you will hold us accountable to our promises too.
We also want to put our customers back in the driver’s seat. As an independent booking software provider, we can and will continue to develop tools that give you full control over their pricing and availabilities across all sales channels. No more surprises, only stability to ensure their long-term growth.
Finally, mirroring the changes in the consumer market, we will be embracing a mobile-first strategy so that your business is ready to take bookings at every step of the traveller’s purchasing journey, online, offline and in-destination.
Are you a TrekkSoft customer? Head over to the Community to get involved in the discussion!
Watch the recording to learn more about TrekkSoft's plan for 2019!