Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tour Operators

Consumer Preference for Experiential Gifts Peaks – Survey

4 months ago

A new survey by tours and activities online marketplace GetYourGuide showed American consumers want gifts that allow them to travel and experience the world more. 

92% of participants said they prefer receiving experiences over physical gifts, up from 77% last year. The survey, now in its third year, showed marked growth in the desire for experiential gifts, from an initial 62% in 2021. 

The holiday sentiment trend correlates with a 63% increase in total bookings between January and October 2023, compared to the same period last year, said GetYourGuide. Price remains a top concern for 56% of Americans, despite being down 7 points from last year.

Regarding the type of experiences, travel topped the list, especially among Millennials, with 51% preferring a trip as their ideal gift. Added preferences included:

  • Concert or show (40%),
  • Outdoor activity such as skiing or hiking (30%)
  • Museum visit (27%)

Food remains a top category for experiential bookings, chosen by 56% of Americans, with a further 33% inspired by local cuisine featured in shows or articles. Pop culture significantly influences travel choices, with 81% citing it as a reason to travel, and 36% have been motivated to travel to a location featured in a TV show or movie.

GetYourGuide said the survey, weighted by Wakefield Research, was conducted among 1,000 Americans aged 16-56, from 5 to 10 September.

Tour Operators

Musement Co-founder Claudio Bellinzona Leaves TUI

5 months ago

The co-founder of Musement, Claudio Bellinzona, is leaving TUI Musement. He will be taking on an advisory role with the tours and activities arm of Europe’s leading tour operator.

The company confirmed Bellinzona’s exit as chief supply officer and confirmed a new tours and activities commercial team, “focused on strategic business to business partners,” to be headed up by Nishank Gopalkrishnan, previously TUI Musement chief business officer and the team’s newly appointed as chief commercial officer.

Bellinzona leaves TUI five years after it acquired the Milan-based tours and activities startup in 2018. Peter Ulwahn, CEO of TUI Musement, confirmed Bellinzona will continue working with the TUI Musement leadership team on “various new growth opportunities.” as he commended his impact on TUI Musement’s recovery post-pandemic as well as the completed integration of Musement into TUI.

The unification of TUI Musement’s partnerships under one commercial team comes as the division generates 50% of the business’ revenues through distribution partnerships that include OTAs like Booking.com and airlines and hotels. The commercial team’s portfolio development, through API and white-label distribution, will be for TUI Collections, the company’s branded experiences, and third-party experiences.

Online Travel

Booking.com Adds Klook To Its Roster of Activities Providers

1 year ago

Booking.com expanded the geographic reach of its tours and activities offerings in Asia by entering a long-term strategic partnership with Klook, Booking.com announced Monday.

Madame Tussauds Singapore source Merlin Entertainments
The set of a Bollywood movie at Madame Tussauds Singapore. Travelers can buy tickets to this attraction and have their reservations instantly confirmed via Klook, an online travel agency that specializes in experiences. Madame Source: Merlin Entertainments

“Klook experiences are now live in over 175 cities, across over 30 markets on Booking.com, and the majority of these are available in Asia and Oceania,” Booking.com stated as it cited Klook as “the category leader for experiences in Asia.”

Booking.com is headquartered in Amsterdam, and Klook is based in Singapore.

Booking.com already had provider agreements with TUI’s Musement, based in Europe, and Tripadvisor’s Viator, which is headquartered in the U.S.

Booking.com sister company Priceline last week announced that it, too, hooked up with Musement to access tours and activities.

Short-Term Rentals

Airbnb to Kickstart Experiences After 2-Year Pause

1 year ago

Airbnb mothballed its experiences business — and ceased investing in hotels — at the beginning of the pandemic, but CEO Brian Chesky said earlier this week that Airbnb will begin to invest in its experiences business again in 2023 after a two-year pause.

A file photo of an Airbnb host greeting participants in a bread-baking experience. Source: Airbnb

“It’s ready to invest like significantly in this business again,” he said.

Trotting out another e-commerce buzzword after discussing funnels, namely “flywheels,” Chesky argued that Airbnb’s homes and experiences businesses would invigorate each other.

“We have some really exciting things in the roadmap,” Chesky said, including for 2023. “And I think that experience is a great flywheel for homes because, again, the number one thing in travel is you want to have direct traffic, booking something unique that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Booking.com: Attractions Won’t Be a ‘Huge Money Spinner’

Booking Holdings Chief Financial Officer David Goulden, speaking at an Evercore technology conference September 8, noted that the company transitioned from a “homegrown acquisition strategy” for tours and activities — when it acquired Fareharbor in 2018 — to a partnerships model, such as through deals with TUI Musement and Viator.

He added that the market size and transaction values for attractions are not as substantial as for accommodations or flights.

“So I don’t think it will be a huge money spinner for us, but it’s certainly something that will create, I think, a lot of value for our customers, therefore, something we want to continue to focus on,” Goulden said.