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The big boys and girls, namely Expedia and TripAdvisor, are at the beginning of the beginning in making the online and mobile booking of tours and activities an everyday thing. Now they just need consumers to join the party.

After years of teasing the highly fragmented tours and activities sector about its intent, Expedia has backed up its boasts with an estimated $6.4 million in spend on national TV advertising in the U.S. over the last six weeks touting the more than 11,000 tours and activities bookable through its mobile app.

The 30-second Expedia “Bucket List” TV advertisement has been broadcast 5,874 times since September 7 on outlets such as ABC, TBS, ESPN, Comedy Central, and Bravo at an estimated spend of $6.45 million, according to

The ad shows an elderly traveler climbing the very steep steps of Cambodia’s historic Angkor Wat, sweating as he ascends on all fours, and feeling satisfied at the summit. When the traveler begins the climb, viewers see an image of the Expedia app on a smartphone, displaying an offer for an “Afternoon Tour of Angkor Wat.”

The voiceover: “When you booked this trip you didn’t know we have over 11,000 tours and activities listed in our app. That you can book them right from your phone. A few weeks ago you still didn’t know if you were going to go. Now the only thing you don’t know is why it took you so long to come here. Expedia: Technology that connects you to the people and places that matter.”

This past year has seen a maturing of the tours and activities sector as TripAdvisor acquired Viator in August 2014 for $200 million, and now Expedia, as it ramps up its own offerings, is running a rare — if not unprecedented — TV advertisement touting its tours and activities offerings. In Berlin, Germany, GetYourGuide attracted a $25 million Series B funding round in July 2014, upping its total funding to $45.5 million.

Expedia’s hotel business has been — and still is — the company’s priority but over the last year it has transitioned tours and activities onto its tech platform and into its mobile app, creating new opportunities. Expedia is sending feedback queries to tours and activities’ customers while they are still in the vacation destination and it has the ability to share the information with tour operators.

The Expedia “Bucket List” ad is still being aired, showing a new commitment to, and focus on, this business line.

Here’s the ad:

Here’s’s graphic on the ad’s airings versus TV spend:


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Tags: advertising, expedia, mobile, tours and activities, tripadvisor

Photo credit: The Expedia 'Bucket List' TV ad, showing a solitary traveler during his visit to Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Expedia

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