Casey Hanisko, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association ATTA, on the potential of online platforms for the organizers of tours and other activities.
TTA, Technology, Tours and Activities - In-Destination-Services, is a new segment this year at ITB Berlin. You were involved in its introduction. What role does this segment play in worldwide tourism
We still only have a few members who are able to guarantee that their tours can be booked online. Especially in the case of tours lasting several days this presents a major challenge. However, it is very important to provide mobile online reservation facilities. An increasing number of travellers are booking their activities at their destination. They always have a smartphone with them and that is where they first look for offers. Tours and activities must be accessible via a smartphone.
How can the providers of tours, activities and attractions become more visible on online marketplaces?
Many of the technology providers that are represented here at ITB Berlin are already working closely with tour operators. However, it is a major technical and logistical challenge for small organizers to structure their current offer, provide it with a coherent pricing system and make it visible on an online platform. The technology providers are keen to work together with these organizers. However, operators have to develop a better awareness of the added value that mobile technology provides them.
How can the unexploited TTA potential be developed?
That is the decisive question. One example is provided by the technology partner tourradar, a platform that was launched in 2010. Initially it concentrated on arranging group trips of several days. Now major tour operators have been joined by on this platform by medium-sized and small organizers.
What trends can you foresee?
There will be more and more integrated approaches. Flights, hotels, tours and activities will be increasingly grouped together and will be accessible on platforms. These segments are natural partners, because most travellers book their activities once they are in their hotel or other accommodation. The information should also be accessible from there.
Can such “in-destination services” help to promote a responsible tourism? Certainly. Digital media can be used to heighten an awareness of social problems or environmental protection at the destination, and topics such as wildlife poaching, sustainable protection of the landscape and child prostitution can be addressed. And this is a very good way of involving the local population in the tours and activities.
The interview was conducted by Mirko Heinemann
Hall 4.1, Stand 214