Some experiences can take place in a day. Others need at least a week. It requires complex travel planning, but the adventure far outweighs these challenges, which is why TourRadar wants to extend its travel product reach to more travel companies, especially online travel agencies.
TourRadar’s booking tool enables partners to offer customers a selection of curated trips across 160 countries, such as a safari in Southern Africa, a Galapagos scuba-diving adventure, or a European river cruise.
Online marketplaces like GetYourGuide and Viator are well-known for selling day tours. But TourRadar CEO and founder Travis Pittman considers multi-day tours a “missing part” of offerings from online travel agencies (OTA).
“The thing with an organized adventure is it can be an eight-day experience. And to bring that together to merchandise is the difficult part,” Pittman told Skift during its 10th Skift Global Forum in New York last week. “None of the other OTAs like Booking or Expedia have brought in this multi-day trip, where you have a guide, you have accommodation, you have your activities, everything’s included for you. So you basically turn up, and that’s the convenience aspect of the benefit of these types of trips.”
TourRadar does not sell flights as part of its organized group tours offering, with an average cost of $3,000 per person, depending on the tour.
Australian-headquartered Flight Centre was the first to partner with TourRadar, with its product integration for Flight Centre’s Leisure Business done 12 months ago, said Pittman.
Local Adventures is a Latin American adventure travel experiences company offering tours with local experts in Mexico, for example. TRAVLR offers a branded travel booking management service for its clients including media businesses, fintech and loyalty companies, travel agents, and content creators.
Addressing the Hard Part of Selling Adventure Group Tours
Pittman said TourRadar is creating a specific reservation system for travel businesses to book multi-day tours.
“Our vision is to digitize that offline world of travel agents,” he said. “There’s no GDS for multi-day products. We are effectively that GDS. And so we now have 12,000 individual travel agents who have signed up to TourRadar. So they have a portal, they can log in [to access] 50,000 adventures, and they can earn a commission on any of them,” said Pittman.
“Tour operators today sell through agents, but it’s all via email, WhatsApp. Payments are a nightmare when you try to get someone who’s in Namibia trying to pay an agent in Florida. That whole orchestration of funds is an absolute nightmare and very expensive. We’ve built a network that basically handles that. We’ve built the technology that connects everyone.”
Fly-and-Flop Versus Active Adventures
When it came to the organized group tour preferences of North American travelers, TourRadar’s biggest customer base, Pittman said the average tour length was 10 days.
Tailwinds from the pandemic meant travelers have been looking for active, adventurous travel. “They don’t just want to do those fly-and-flop type holidays where you go for a week, you sit in a hotel, you don’t really do much. You have some fun on the beach, but you’re not doing any kind of activities. They actually want to be a bit more active rather than passive,” said Pittman.
“We want to maximize that experience. You don’t want to turn up in, say, Thailand or Bangkok and go, oh, what am I going to do today? You want it basically planned, and you want it all booked as well. And that’s the seamless nature of it. It’s all done in a way that you can just go from one day to the next, and you don’t have to think about anything,” said Pittman.
“Tours haven’t been the sexiest product in the past. We want them to understand, ‘I’m traveling with a cool group of people. I could actually come out with two or three amazing friends. I’m getting pushed outside my comfort zone, but with someone there to hold my hand basically’. And I think once people do one of these types of trips, they keep doing them because they realize the benefit. But we have to crack that stigma of holding an umbrella, walking around a city with a huge group of people.”
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