Skift Take

Breaking down the tour operator supply chain reveals interesting insights about why some tour operators succeed — and others don't — and how so many seemingly different companies all fit together under one big tent.

In our latest report, Skift Research analyzes the often overlooked market for multi-day tours and activities.

The classic tour operator is a manufacturer of sorts. These tour operators build a new travel product by piecing together many different parts from across the travel sector. A hotel here, a flight there, and a restaurant or two to bring it all together. With all of these different travel components to build with, it's no surprise that tours are a complex area.

The below excerpt focuses on understanding the tour operator supply chain and making some sense of how many different types of tour businesses relate to and interact with one another.

The full report dives deeper into the sector, exploring how the sector's supply chains and distribution networks are responding to changes in technology. It also looks at the changes brought about by COVID-19 and how tours have responded.

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The Tour Operator Supply Chain

Let’s examine the lifecycle of how a tour is created and comes to market in the land-based tour operator space.

Our model of the tour operator chain has three layers of value add. It starts with the supply of core travel products like hotels, flights, trains, and cars. These ‘raw materials’ of the tour might come from direct contracting with an airline or via a reseller like