Why the Tours and Activity Industry is Vastly Different than the Accommodation Industry

2 Jun 2016     |    Blake Ng

Tour and activity companies, hotels, airlines, rental car companies and restaurants can all be lumped into one all-encompassing travel industry, right?

No. In fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The tour and activity industry is vastly different from the hotel and accommodation industry — which is why you, as a tour and activity provider, need an online booking engine that is designed specifically for your niche industry.

What’s the Difference?

The tour and activity industry is much more fragmented and diverse than the accommodations sector. Hotels do not vary much in what they offer. Generally, people are looking for a comfortable place to sleep with an authentic atmosphere and affordable prices. Tour and activities, however, will vary greatly based on what they offer their customers. For instance, one destination may have 10 similar hotels to stay in, but 8 different types of activities available through tour companies.

Customers searching for tours do not focus as much on the price as they do when they are booking a hotel. It’s easier to make an apples-to-apples comparison between hotels. It’s harder to compare the prices of different tours and activities, though, because each experience is different. For instance, the price of a whale watching tour might be different from the price of a fishing charter experience, but consumers will not compare the two costs. Hotels are more prone to competing for customers, because there are often many hotels in any given destination. There are less tours and activities available, and few direct competitors. Travelers are less sensitive to the costs of tours and activities.

What Should You Look for in an Online Booking System?

  • Choose an online booking system that allows you to broadcast your real-time availability. This ensures that agents can easily resell your products without fear of it being oversold or overbooked.
  • Select a system that offers resource management tools. Managing the number of tour buses that you have available or the number of tour guides you need each day can be difficult, so it’s important to select an online booking system that accounts for your resources for you.
  • Find an online booking system that helps you better promote your business to your target audience. Your booking system should do more than allow you to accept online bookings — it should provide you with resources that help you better market your business.

Eventually, tour operators and activity providers will benefit more from a good distribution strategy as they will increase their reach significantly. To learn more about distributing tours or activities download our free Distribution ebook.

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