The Tours & Activities Sector in 2014: A Year in Review

23 Dec 2014     |    Taz Bareham

2014 was a big year for Tours & Activities, with rapid developments on all fronts.

Here’s a recap of the biggest news in 2014 for the Tours & Activities Sector.

Online distribution

There were a lot of big moves in the OTA space for tours and activities:

1) TripAdvisor Acquires Viator

TripAdvisor announced that they bought Viator for $200 million, mostly in cash. This is BIG news for the tours & activities sector. What does it mean for tour and activity operators?

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2) Viator to Aggressively Expand Tours & Activities Options

Just three months in the TripAdvisor fold and tours and activities provider Viator is taking a step away from its curation bent and plans on aggressively adding suppliers in 2015.

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3) TripAdvisor Removes GetYourGuide as a Provider of Product

It is unclear when the agreement ended with GetYourGuide, the European-based supplier of inventory which fed the Things To Do lines on TripAdvisor, but confirmation comes two months after rival Viator was snapped up by TripAdvisor for $200 million.

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4) Airbnb Quietly Tries a New Approach to Selling Tours & Activities

The accommodation-sharing beast has been playing around again with tours and activities after seeing its two previous efforts not really come to anything.

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5) BeMyGuest Becomes the World’s Largest Online Booking Platform for Asian Activities

After only a year since announcing their significant funding round, Singapore based travel site has become the world’s largest online booking platform for Asian activities.

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6) Expedia Looks to Build Tours & Activities Without Acquisitions

Seeing a new opportunity in tours and activities with the proliferation of mobile devices, intends to build up its existing Expedia Local Expert business, which staffs concierge desks in tourist locations in Hawaii, Orlando, Mexico, the Caribbean, Las Vegas and New York. has a “things to do” homepage tab, as well.

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Industry research

There was heaps of research conducted this year on the tours & activities sectors. Topics included emerging markets, booking windows, and the effectiveness of tour operator booking channels.


1) Just 1% of Travellers Plan Trips in the Last 24 Hours

Despite the rise of same-day booking services, apparently just 1% of leisure and business travellers plan their trip within the final 24-hour window.

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2) Google Take on Affluent Travellers: Trip Planning, Videos & Multi-Screen

Affluent travellers rely on digital for travel inspiration and booking, are increasingly viewing travel videos online and seeking out loyalty programs, reveals a Google study.

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3) Chinese Tourists Are The World’s Biggest Travellers

China’s economy has boomed over the past decade, expanding the ranks of its middle-class who are hungry for foreign travel after the country’s decades of isolation in the last century.

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4) Gen Y’s Got The Hype But Baby Boomers Have the Money

The latest TripBarometer survey from TripAdvisor  shows that it’s the older travellers who are leading the way on many key travel metrics, including online.

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5) Millennials overtake Generation X in vacation spending

Millennials are vacationing more than before. Their annual holiday spending now even surpasses that of Generation X’s. Roughly one out of four millennials are planning more overnight trips for leisure in 2014 compared with the previous year.

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Tour Operators

Rezdy conducted some research into tour operators, via a survey and delving into our own data.

1) The Best Tour Operator Booking Channels in 2014

We ran an industry survey to Australian and American tour operators, to set benchmarks that tour businesses can compare themselves to. Here’s a brief summary of the results.

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2) Top 3 Tour & Activity Sector Myths

In the Tours & Activities sector, there are 3 major assumptions being made: people tend to book tours and activities via offline sources; people tend to book tours and activities last minute; and, the tours and activities market is too hard. Being a leading online booking software provider geared towards tours and activities, Rezdy’s data has allowed us to dissect these common myths.

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There you have it! In such exciting times, who knows what the future holds for tours and activities.

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