The power of performance data to improve the customer experience remains a driving force for GetYourGuide. In a case of iron sharpening iron, the pioneering insights from its Originals brand will level the playing field across its entire marketplace as the private label format is put on hold.
Improved customer experience was the driving hypothesis behind Originals, GetYourGuide’s private label offering. Reports that it is ending raise the question of why.
The online travel agent launched Originals in 2018 in partnership with local operators in popular destinations determined by its “wealth of customer booking performance data.”
These operators run the tours under the private label, offering similar benefits to Airbnb’s super hosts concept. For example, GetYourGuide charged a higher commission for Originals than other products on the platform and provided more visibility for the offering in search results.
“We are not giving up on Originals,” said GetYourGuide co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Tao Tao, speaking to Skift in response to the noted change.
The experience economy is a hotbed of digital acceleration as leisure travelers seek out once-in-a-lifetime options more than ever before. Within a fragmented tours and activities sector, any differentiation that adds to the simplicity of booking is excellent for supplier conversion and retention, but even more so for travelers looking for an improved customer experience.
TUI Musement CEO Peter Ulwahn recently outlined to Skift that building TUI Collections is a key focus, while Airbnb recently announced it would bring back its experience offering, paused during the pandemic.
So why the pause of Originals?
Tao said data insights that worked to leverage Originals will be used to improve the customer experience across the platform’s entire marketplace.
The Originals tours have been successful on several fronts, he added, with data insights shaping the length of the tours, the adaption of booking times and extending brand visibility for a better customer experience.
“We’ve worked well with our suppliers to create better tour experiences, and we saw the average rating of the Originals tours was much higher.”
These top ratings and reviews will remain visible for those tour operators who have nurtured their Originals offering, as they are still currently bookable on the site, just not in the standard Originals format.
The program in its current form is evolving, and these high-quality experiences remain in tack, added Tao.
Tao did confirm the “Discovery Assistant” functionality, responsible for grouping similar tours, is being removed.
“Our job is to unlock unforgettable experiences for customers and on the supplier side to simplify digital revenue growth. In that journey, we are constantly testing and adding things, and also removing or discontinuing things that don’t work.”
The plan, he said, is to share what works in the form of a new insights feature launched in the GetYourGuide’s supplier portal.
“It details data and insights around what customers are saying about products and destinations and offers advice and tips for anyone in our marketplace to create better experiences,” he said.
But what about quality differentiation?
“Curation has also been a driving element to ensure that those experiences live up to the expectations of being unforgettable,” said Tao.
As a result, the Collections feature uses human and artificial intelligence curation to bring this to the fore for GetYourGuide.
“Modern explorers want to maximize their trips. They want to do the must-do and iconic attractions and on top of that experience something different and unique,” he added.
Tao compares the Collections merchandising methodology to streaming services or music apps. And it can certainly be seen as an evolved, more on-point version of the discontinued Discovery Assistant.
But rather than like-for-like in a comparison format, Collections curates the iconic with the lesser-known.
“When customers go to Paris, they want to do the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, but they also want to do a wine tasting and try off-the-beaten path things. The concept of Collections simplifies the intention to do both with the hidden gem offerings,” said Tao.
What the evolution of the brand Originals will look like remains to be seen, as Tao said more would only be reveal in 2023.
Furthermore, the entire GetYourGuide supply chain now appears to benefit from Originals’ pioneering insights through informed decisions based on in-destination data and an opportunity to improve the offering.
While this speaks of the need to standardize tours and activity products that scale uptake and choice for travelers, it inadvertently levels the playing field across a competitive marketplace.
Watch: GetYourGuide co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Tao Tao discusses unique vs. existing inventory with Skift CEO Rafat Ali at the Skift 2022 Global Forum.