News & Opinion

OK, now we are a serious industry, lets agree on the name

July 26th, 2019 by Alex Bainbridge

The tours & activities industry in recent years has become the next big thing. But one aspect we collectively haven’t quite resolved yet is the name of the industry. Over and above that somewhat fundamental point, we also don’t have an accepted name for those tasked with introducing customers to product / services, nor those […]

It’s nearly over for tour & attraction retail and we were just getting started

May 14th, 2019 by Alex Bainbridge

I spend more time than healthy looking at the potential industry structures for tours, activities & attractions. It holds fascination to me because when you are building a new platform over a 5-10 year timeline, you have to call it right. In recent years I have swayed from thinking the online travel agents with hotel […]

Tours & activities in 2019 – the 10 key questions

February 19th, 2019 by Alex Bainbridge

The tours & activities industry is all grown up. Serious investments are being made, presumably with the expectation that serious returns will be made down the line. Conferences (like the newly expanded Arival now with events in Berlin, Thailand & USA in 2019 ) are attracting people from all over the sector. Booking numbers & cross-industry connectivity […]

Could customer service be a better innovation playground than bookings?

December 18th, 2018 by Alex Bainbridge

Now in December 2018 it seems a long time ago (April) that Booking Holdings acquired FareHarbor and TripAdvisor Experiences/Viator acquired Bokun (two leading supplier facing reservation systems). Perhaps time to look back at what happened and plot a course forward from here – where could we go next? I am personally interested in these exits […]

Tips for Tour Operators Podcast: “Self driving cars are coming for you”

October 26th, 2018 by Alex Bainbridge

A few weeks ago I was interviewed on the Tips for Tour Operators podcast all about my favourite topic of the moment – autonomous vehicles and the upcoming impact on vehicle based sightseeing, attraction bookings and how concierges (or their digital replacements) interact with local services such as shops, restaurants etc. It also covers my […]

What is the minimum viable industry in tours & activities? #ArivalEvent

October 3rd, 2018 by Alex Bainbridge

Much of the press and social media coverage from Arival Event last week in Las Vegas has focussed on the announcement from the stage that TripAdvisor Experiences (previously known as Viator) is giving preference to suppliers on their Bokun reservation system over and above other tour suppliers using other reservation systems. For example see this […]

Learnings from an Airbnb Experience during #ArivalEvent in Las Vegas

October 1st, 2018 by Alex Bainbridge

I wrote about Airbnb Experiences back in March this year where I outlined that their approach to experience delivery creates some significant challenges for their hosts but also significantly better service differentiation for their customers. Guaranteed operation, pain free cancellation, minimum booking size one and exclusive supply are really hard on suppliers (hosts) but for […]

Learnings from Uptaste – B2C tours & activities has very different challenges to supplier tech

September 18th, 2018 by Alex Bainbridge

I am about to jump on a plane for #ArivalEvent in Las Vegas next week where I will meet up with many friends, colleagues, partners, competitors and DestinationCTO readers from across the industry. I will be soft launching a new tech platform there as well as writing up analysis of the presentations for DestinationCTO & […]

Is metasearch in tours & activities a layer too far? Thoughts on Google TouringBird

September 13th, 2018 by Alex Bainbridge

Plenty of chatter in the tours & activities sector in recent days following Google’s entry into the sector with their TouringBird service. Launched with a reasonable 25,000 activities in 20 cities they are showing that they are taking the opportunity seriously even though not quite yet ready to apply the Google brand and expose all Google search […]

#Arival2018 – Questions I hope to hear answers to

August 29th, 2018 by Alex Bainbridge

The annual Arival conference (next in Las Vegas 24-27 September) has quickly added itself to the “must do” list of conferences for anyone who is serious about the tours & activities sector (or more generally, anyone with an interest in creating positive leisure travel experiences in destination). I ran 6 mini-conferences during London’s World Travel […]