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Online travel agency giants are on the backfoot in tours and experiences

11/05/2019| 4:26:50 PM|

Experiences-focused companies are now too expensive for the giants to buy, they could remain thorns in the sides of the legacy players for years to come.

Online booking companies are stepping up their efforts to sell travelers tours, attractions, events, and activities. But the travel industry’s three largest online agency conglomerates — Booking Holdings, Expedia Group, and Trip.com Group — continue to have strikingly small market share in the sector.

Some industry observers assumed the giants would swoop in. After all, they already have millions of customers booking with them monthly. That gives them a marketing edge. It costs relatively little for them to try to upsell their customers on, say, a zip-lining ride or a wine-tasting tour.

But the titans of travel haven’t done that yet, and they may come to rue what appears from the outside to be either laziness or a miscalculation.

In terms of interest for experience operators, TripAdvisor outdoes Expedia Local Expert. GetYourGuide frequently tops Booking.com, and Klook, KKDay, Traveloka, and Veltra all bite at the ankles of Ctrip. Representatives from the online travel agency brands of Expedia, Booking Holdings, and Ctrip weren’t even on-stage at Arival.

It’s not that the legacy players are standing still. Expedia, for instance, has doubled the products it lists in the past three years. But other players claim to be onboarding inventory at faster paces.

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TAGS: OTA | Google | tours and activities | Airbnb
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