Why attraction reservation technology is not the same as tour reservation technology
October 23rd, 2020
Part of the global shift from serving international tourists to local residents has been a shift of product makeup from tours to attractions.
To better inform why this is not easy, or even sensible, if you are a tour reservation platform, I thought I would jot down what the key differences between a tour and an attraction (such as a museum entry) are:
- People search for attractions by name (e.g. Eiffel Tower), but tour by type (e.g. bike tour)
- Attractions (pre-covid) tend to have high availability and long opening hours, tours are specific times & low availability per instance
- Attractions are singular – so to edit content on 8 OTAs, requires 8 edits. A much smaller tour operator, with 20 tours, to edit on 8 OTAs, would require 160 edits
- Attractions yield by price, tours yield by class
- Attractions are static (e.g. can be placed on a map), tours tend to be place to place
- Attractions are unique, tours can be replicated by near competitors over time
- People like me think we can replicate a tour using AI tour guides, but we can never replicate an attraction, we can only retail an existing attraction
- Attractions can be iconic within a region (e.g. the Eiffel Tower), tours are rarely iconic, although tours can take you to iconic places
- Attractions are pre-dominantly self guided (you walk around the zoo yourself), tours are pre-dominantly human guided (currently!)
- Attractions are fairly static over time, tours churn (with individual tour operators delisting 10% of their tours annually, and creating new tours based on new customer behaviours)
- A retailer can say “we have all the attractions” in a region, but a retailer can never say they have all the tours, as people are always inventing new tours
- Attractions tend to be high volume low price, tours tend to be low volume higher price
- Attractions are immutable, tours tend to be made up of segments (e.g. location one followed by location two). These segments can be reordered based on customer or commercial demands
- Domestic market will book attractions but its mainly international tourists who book tours (as a general rule)
- Locals often visit the same attraction again and again, but rarely do the same tour again and again
- Attraction directors don’t always see themselves as in the travel industry, tour operators mostly see themselves as in the travel industry
The only similarity between tours & attractions seems to be that both compete for a humans time when in a destination – e.g. how should I best spend 4 hours on Saturday?
It’s very hard to do anything that crosses both attractions AND tours – by this I mean marketing, reservation technology or conferences. Industry people who are interested in one often have no interest in the other.
Image: Flickr: Dave Hogg
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