One thing that the global COVID-19 pandemic will change permanently is the way people travel and book their trips. We’ve already seen large shifts in both, an increase in technology use as well as last-minute travel arrangements as a result of the current environment.
This marks a mentality and behavioural change that is likely to spark a new norm that resellers of tours & activities (T&A) products will need to be ready for. Post-COVID-19, it’s likely high streets and physical locations are never going to operate the same.
Forced technology interaction has become a good thing...
Older generations through to the tech-averse have been forced into learning basic technology because of the rise in conference calls, remote working, and not being able to see loved ones. It has propelled more technology adoption than any other event in decades because it’s given many no other option but to learn.
Businesses who previously relied on physical locations are now looking to invest in new technologies to reach their audiences online.
But how does this relate to travellers and the T&A industry in general?
This innovation has unwittingly educated those who previously avoided technology and rightmost are communicating online, building a sense of wanderlust in an audience who have suddenly become more confident in online transactions.
According to Arival’s report The Experience Revolution: Global Operator Landscape published in April 2020, tour operators sold only 17% of their products online in 2019 and 83% offline. Online channels have always led in recessionary environments, and the post-COVID recovery will be no exception.
We can already see the booking process evolving. In China, where a portion of the Great Wall was reopened in March, visitors can only book their tickets online.
Tour operators are looking to adopt technology to support their businesses to bounce back, and they are doing that by embracing new ways to distribute their products, including making them available online.
We believe this will bring some surprising benefits for the future of T&A.
The perfect mix for resellers
When lockdown measures and restrictions are gradually lifted, there will be an influx of newly tech-savvy travellers interested in booking T&A quickly. Travellers are likely to start local and engage in activities close to their homes, and then further away once they know other desired destinations are safe enough to travel to.
Working remotely is also likely to stay in many companies, meaning that travellers will be able to plan their holidays more spontaneously since they will have more flexibility with their schedule and work location.
This presents a massive opportunity for the T&A vertical, especially for tour operators and resellers who have live inventory that can be made available to customers booking last-minute trips.
Preparing for a new normal
With a lot of the travel industry facing downtime - whether for airlines, hotels or travel agencies - it brings losses but also the opportunity to innovate. Travellers adoption and confidence with new technologies, coupled with changes in booking windows, requires access to live inventory that is fully automated.
The Livn API is connected to over 700,000 global tour & activities products allowing a seamless booking experience for travellers, tour operators and resellers. We are excited and ready to support the recovery of the travel industry.