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.
Barrie Seidenberg, CEO of Viator, which TripAdvisor acquired for $192 million in August, tells Skift that Viator is moving to an “open listings platform” to accelerate the growth of its tours and activities choices.
Tours and activities companies can sign up for free to be listed on TripAdvisor and Viator.com.
“Viator is now part of TripAdvisor, bringing you guaranteed booking placements on the world’s largest travel site, with over 280 million monthly visitors,” the Viator sign-up page states.
The open listings platform will enable Viator to bring on board a large number of suppliers in destinations that the company already covers and in “far-flung destinations,” too, Seidenberg says.
The launch of the open listings platform will get more robust in 2015, Seidenberg states.
There would be listings of these newly added tours and activities on TripAdvisor sites, which would link to Viator for bookings, Seidenberg says.
The new strategy for Viator represents a departure from its prior bent in which it sought to curate the best tours and activities in each destination rather than emphasizing comprehensiveness, as is the approach of up-and-coming rival GetYourGuide.
Seidenberg refers to the new approach as “complementary,” enabling Viator to expand supply “and invest in the future.”
Seidenberg says Viator will still curate listings on Viator.com, and the newly added tours and activities will be differentiated from the curated options in a way that has yet to be publicized.
In other news, Viator announced that it now has more than 100 suppliers in more than 30 countries hooked up to Viator through an API that features live availability of tours and activities. There are also 10 aggregators and booking systems tied in.
The significance of the live availability and enhanced technology tie-ins is that it creates a better user experience for travelers, Seidenberg says.
Viator was founded 19 years ago and Seidenberg headed up the company for the past nine years, culminating in TripAdvisor’s acquisition of Viator in August.
Asked whether she doubted such an exit would ever come, Seidenberg said, “I thought it might have come a little sooner. Nine years quite a bit of time.”
Seidenberg said she is staying on to run the business, and is excited about the prospect of “enabling” a still-very fragmented $100 billion global industry.