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Published by Sara Napier Burkhard | Mar 16, 2017 | | 2 MIN READ

4 key trends to watch for this year (according to Phocuswright)

Phocuswright conducted a recent study that would look into the tours and attractions industry worldwide. The findings resulted in the project Global Travel Activites 2014-2020: Tours & Attractions Come of Age, which will be released in the next few months.

TrekkSoft was given a first look at the findings and our take on it was published on Tnooz a few weeks ago. Unsurprising of a report titled "come of age", the findings reveal that companies will need to adapt if they want to stay relevant.

But what does that look like? Here are four key trends and behaviors discussed in the report.

1. Offline sales are still important for tours and attractions

For tours and attractions, offline sales are worth paying attention to. 45% of the transactions are happening directly offline. This makes in-person exchanges a top channel for activity sales.

Overall, walk-ins are favored in these cases, but they might be supplemented with online services. 15% of activity sales are through their supplier's websites or an app booking engine. Meanwhile, 4% of the sales are through OTAs and online resellers.


2. The industry online

The marketplace may be largely offline, but digital is growing. So it is unsurprising that suppliers' and companies' first priority in 2017 is to grow their online sales. Three out of four companies claim they will have online booking available by the end of this year, though the study sample weighs towards larger, more tech-savvy suppliers.

Online bookings are set to exceed 26% of global sales for tours & attractions by 2019. That number will climb 2 percentage points in just one year, with 28% of these transactions happening online by 2020.

With one-fourth of global sales taking place online, that means you can't ignore the value of entering the online marketplace. If you haven't already, now is the time to build a booking-optimized website and get online.

3. Mobile is on the rise

In our 2017 Trends webinar with Colm Hanratty, he discussed how mobile is shaping the industry. It was one of his key trends to watch for in the coming year and it seems that Phocuswright's data agrees.

61% of suppliers in this study claim they will have a mobile site with live booking by the end of this year. Online tours and attractions gross bookings will more than double from $9B in 2015 to $21B in 2020. And most of those online options will be mobile-optimized.

4. Look out for last-minute bookings

Most travelers are putting their planning efforts into their accommodations and transportation before a trip. It's often only at the last minute that they are booking their tours and activities.

38% of bookings are happening same day or up to two days before the activity. Many of these bookings take place “in-destination”, while consumers are already traveling. That number grows to 53% when looking at bookings within a week, while only 19% of these activities were booked more than a month in advance.

mobile booking

One of the key takeaways from this report is that online is the future of the tours and attractions industry. You could be missing out on sales, partnerships, and those valuable last-minute bookings. Is your business ready to receive customers any time before your tours and activities?

Read the latest travel trends by downloading our free annual report:

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Sara Napier Burkhard
Published by Sara Napier Burkhard
Sara is a writer from the American West Coast. In recent years, she's written for companies like Hipmunk, iTourMobile and Mylikes. She now resides in Zurich, Switzerland where she finds new adventures and attempts to speak German with minimal success.
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