Tours & Activities – mobile bookings at last
Leisure vacations are the third biggest tourism market after air travel and hotels – and the one that is growing fastest. Whereas online bookings are the norm for the first two, mobile internet is still in its infancy in the tours & activities market. Mobile booking options for this market were the focus of the panel discussion at ITB Berlin’s new Technology, Tours & Activities (TTA) Forum, which was moderated by Charlotte Lamp Davies.
Lukas Hempel of the Berlin-based company Bookingkit opened the debate. The company has set its sights on nothing less that digitalising the tours & activities market. Bookingkit offers companies marketing leisure activities a platform where their services can be advertised and booked. Travellers want to make spontaneous decisions, which is why mobile booking options are especially important in this sector. That way, tourists can research cooking courses, Segway tours and safaris on the spot and immediately book them online.
That made it possible to enjoy a custom experience away from the crowd, promised Urban Adventure, an offshoot of Intrepid, which was presented by Klaudija Janzelj. The company markets guided tours in small groups. Travellers are able to visit lesser-known attractions in cities, where they can eat, drink, visit places or shop in exclusive stores.
The data on customers’ leisure activities obtained via mobile apps opens up ’huge prospects’, said Jonne de Leeuw of the venture capitalist HPE Growth Capital. In future, it would be possible to optimise price structures and booking options on these platforms using artificial intelligence. For Gordon Freiherr von Godin, who runs the DDR Museum in Berlin, mobile bookings are just the beginning. He would like to see mobile payment systems being integrated into mobile booking apps in the future.
Hall 71.b, eTravel Lab
ITB Berlin 2019, ITB Berlin Convention, TTA Forum, Lukas Hempel, Charlotte Lamp Davies, Drew Barrett, Gordon Freiherr von Godin, Klaudija Janzelj, Jonne de Leeuw
Recent Study: Overtourism from the Traveller’s Perspective
In order to better deal with the increasing flow of tourists, a three-euro “entrance fee” was asked of tourists to the Floating City for the first time this year. This is one example of how “overtourism,” steadily increasing around the world, might be managed. But how sensitive are travellers these days and what can they do to better distribute the burden in tourist hotspots?
Sharry Sun, avowed cosmopolitan and Global Head of Brand at the internet platform Travelzoom, presented a new study, conducted in partnership with ITB Berlin, “Overtourism and Environmental Protection: Attitudes and Behaviours of International Tourists” at the ITB Berlin Convention. Between December 2018 and January of this year, approximately 8,000 respondents from eight countries on three continents helped assess which groups recognise this phenomenon and how they try to avoid it.
“The twenty most heavily visited destinations in the world attract about as much interest as all other remaining destinations,” says Ms Sun, listing a startling number in her introduction. Instead of “overtourism,” which has a negative connotation, she introduced the phrase “overcrowded destination,” defined by a clear imbalance between supply and demand. A high number of respondents recognise this imbalance – 50 per cent of respondents believe that more must be done to limit mass tourism. “That is a high number, but it should continue to increase,” says Ms Sun. A large number of respondents are willing to pay more not only to meet fewer tourists but also to protect the environment and infrastructure. Despite the clichés, awareness of the problem is particularly high among the Chinese – likely because they are familiar with adverse effects from their own painful experience, says Sharry Sun.
Ms. Sun left the interested audience with practical recommendations to better combat the negative consequences of mass tourism: “Alternative travel is Travelzoo’s core message. This may mean seasons other than high season that should be better promoted, but also attractions in surrounding areas, outside of the hotspots.”
Dr. Robert Kluge
Press contact: Verena Keimer
Tel.: +49 160 883 60 9
ITB Berlin 2019: Michael Buller, chairman of the VIR (Verband Internet Reisevertrieb):