Tour & activity bookings on marketplaces are increasing in 2018 (TrekkSoft data)

Although marketplaces like Viator and Expedia drive under 5% of all tour and activity sales according to separate TrekkSoft and Phocuswright data in 2017, this is growing. Phocuswright predicted last year that the online reseller market share will double by 2020, as suppliers look to these platforms to expand into new markets and reach new customers.

In our 2018 data so far at TrekkSoft, we’re seeing the booking share rise for marketplaces. Marketplaces formed 7% of transaction volume in the month of February 2018.

The marketplaces driving the most bookings

Suppliers using TrekkSoft get most bookings through Viator, which drives 75% of marketplace bookings as of the time of writing. This is one of TrekkSoft’s longest term integration partners.

The next biggest channel is Expedia, with 14% of marketplace bookings, followed by GetYourGuide (7%) and Musement (2.7%).

Tour & activity bookings by marketplace. TrekkSoft booking data as of 9 Feb 2018.

After we integrated the TrekkSoft booking system with GetYourGuide in mid-2017, we’ve seen bookings through the marketplace rise sharply and expect to see this continue. Milan-based Musement is also showing growth and now serves over 450 destinations in 50 countries.

Geography and adoption of marketplaces

As recognised by Skift in their March 6 article, Europe has made their most progress in terms of distribution via online travel agencies. Skift have recognised over 27,000 listings in Europe across Viator, Expedia, Airbnb, GetYourGuide and Peek and put this down to Europe’s position as leading tourist destination. Next is Asia, with nearly 19,000 listings on the five marketplaces, followed by the U.S. and Canada with 9,000.

With TrekkSoft headquarters in Switzerland and the largest share of its suppliers in Europe, the quick adoption of marketplaces like Viator and GetYourGuide by suppliers using our booking system makes sense.

Our position in Europe has also been a key factor in online travel agencies wishing to access our inventory. GetYourGuide and Musement are Europe-based, while Viator and Expedia are in the U.S.

Average transaction by marketplace

In January-February 2018, the average transaction per booking via Viator and GetYourGuide was $157 and $155 respectively, followed by Expedia with an average basket of $133. This is lower than the basket cost for direct website and point-of-sale bookings, but higher than mobile bookings.

Challenges and opportunities

According to Lukasz Porebski, Head of Product at TrekkSoft, the biggest bottleneck is the mapping of products between a merchant’s booking system and the marketplace. However, this holds a lot of opportunities when done efficiently.

TrekkSoft currently has the most advanced connection with Viator, with an efficient mapping process that takes within minutes for inventory on TrekkSoft to be matched on Viator. Viator also has a strong understanding of use cases for tours and activities alongside how to best react with its product and APIs.

However, GetYourGuide is growing fast, as is its API connections. In terms of other marketplaces, we are also seeing a very promising start for Project Expedition after integrating just a few weeks ago.

At TrekkSoft, we are increasingly seeing high-value tour and activity suppliers coming to us specifically for our Channel Manager functionality.

Why the increase?

In Autumn 2016, we found that 69% of companies using online travel agencies reported an increase in bookings as a result. Our data suggested an average of 20% more bookings per year for these TrekkSoft customers.

Since then, we have been continuing to promote the benefits of connecting to OTAs to our suppliers, while the leading marketplaces are building ever-stronger brands.

Despite the barriers of commission, we are not surprised that Phocuswright foresees further growth in market share for OTAs by 2020.