Zaui Guide to OTAs for Tour and Transport Operators

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July 15, 2021

6 min read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

In the fourth part of the Ways to Sell series, we give a detailed walkthrough of the leading OTAs in the tour and transport industry. 

If you’ve missed out on our previous posts, head over to the Ways to Sell IntroductionWays to Sell through Agents and An Introduction to OTAs for Tour and Transport Operators posts to get up to speed on the various sales channels you can leverage with a booking management system.

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) unlock diverse markets for tour and transport operators giving them access to millions of travellers worldwide. While there is no shortage of OTAs, the trick of the trade is in picking the right ones whose pricing and commission structure align with your business.

For someone new to the world of OTAs, choosing the ideal ones for their business is a real head-scratcher. That’s why we are here to give you a great start with your OTA research.

We have covered the most popular OTAs in the industry that can help operators present their tours and experiences in front of a larger audience.

Most popular OTAs and why Operators may want to partner with them

GetYourGuide

Berlin-based GetYourGuide is one of the fastest-growing OTAs, providing incredible travel experiences for its users. GetYourGuide works with professional suppliers offering tours, attraction tickets, city cards, cooking classes, transfers, multi-day tours, or experiences like wearing traditional costumes.

GetYourGuide can help operators extend their reach to tech-savvy millennial travellers in Europe and North America.

Its mobile-friendly features help them garner more visitors, especially millennials looking for seamless booking and travel experiences on the go.

With 57 percent of its inventory covering tours and activities in Europe, GetYourGuide has a strong foothold in the continent. Not restricting itself to Europe, the online reseller is now expanding its footprints to North America.

The OTA adds the provider’s brand name to the product description. However, it is not easy for the user to find out the operator’s name as it is normally placed at the bottom of the listing.

Head over here to learn more and sign up.

Viator  

As one of the largest OTAs for North America, Viator can help tour operators expand their footprint to the North American market. Viator, a TripAdvisor company dedicated to tour operators, is known for prioritizing quality and diversity of products rather than quantity.

Tour operators get more mileage out of the Tripadvisor acquisition of Viator by being able to target more eyeballs via Tripadvisor, the Tripadvisor App, and its 3500+ partner sites.

Also, operators on TripAdvisor, which is more of an open marketplace with aggregated reviews for hotels, attractions, and activities, can get their products listed on Viator directly from their TripAdvisor page and leverage the large OTA user base.

Another good news for operators is the addition of Booking.com, the largest accommodation OTA in the world, as Viator’s new source of distribution. Viator’s tour and activity options will be available to Booking.com’s travellers, giving operators access to a massive audience who wants to have an end-to-end experience across their entire travel journey.

However, Viator not displaying the operator’s brand name prior to purchase is considered a downside as it may not support tour operators’ brand-building efforts. On the other hand, TripAdvisor does not hide the company’s brand name prior to purchase.

Learn more about joining Viator as a supplier here.

Klook

Based in Hong Kong, Klook offers operators access to the fast-growing FIT market in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Klook established itself as an Asian expert, and it had a 70% continent market share in 2018.

The OTA aims to expand globally, and with its growing active user base in the US, Klook is adding diverse products in new markets for its users.

Klook has a curated marketplace for young, independent travellers looking for experiences in both Asia and parts of Europe. The young OTA can be a suitable partner for those operators targeting a younger demographic and those who are eager to tap the Asian market.

The Hong Kong unicorn relies on artificial intelligence to provide better travel recommendations to its users based on their travel purposes, such as family travel with kids or adventure trips. This will help operators raise the chances of reaching the ideal audience.

As Klook typically discloses the operator’s brand name, it will help tour operators build their reputation among travellers and get direct visitors to their website in future.

Klook has also come up with innovative initiatives during the pandemic to increase domestic tourism spending. For instance, the OTA had campaigned with destination marketing organizations like the Singapore Tourism Board to promote domestic tourism and local business.

Visit Klook to know more and become a supplier.

Musement

Milan-based OTA ​​helps travellers discover museum visits, city tours, food and wine tastings, sports events and wellness activities. Musement had its focus on European and more specifically, Mediterranean user base initially.

It has changed since its acquisition by the German giant TUI Group, which gave Musement and operators listed on the OTA access to its 21 million customers.

Musement has now become a prominent player, with over 50000 travellers using the OTA each month to enrich their travel experience.

Getting listed on Musement might help operators build their brand as it does not hide the company’s brand name. With the providers’ brand name out there along with the listings, travellers will be able to recognize the operators and may end up booking directly with them for their future travels.

Head over here to learn more and sign up.

Expedia Local Expert  

Expedia is one of the world’s largest full-service travel sites with the widest selection of vacation destinations, hotel deals, car rentals and in-destination activities, attractions, and services. Its “things to do” section for tours and activities is known as the Expedia Local Expert.

By getting listed on Expedia, operators can market their experiences on over 60 travel booking sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, AirAsiaGo and more. The US-based OTA does not hide the operators’ brand name, helping them increase their brand awareness.

With its global presence offering flights, hotels and transportation on its platform, Expedia could be a choice for operators whose target market is international travellers. Operators could present and promote their offerings to potential guests on the platform looking for flights or hotel bookings. ​​

The tour and activity listings on Expedia are not as huge as its travel and accommodation offerings. The OTA giant had only a 12% market share of global tour listings in 2018.

It means that operators could take advantage of the less crowded tour platform of Expedia. Also, Expedia Local Expert has concierge desks in hotels worldwide promoting tour and activity operators to in-destination travellers.

Busbud (Intercity Bus – Transportation)

Dubbed ‘the Expedia for Buses,’ Busbud began its ride as an OTA in the transport sector, aiming to mitigate the bus ride troubles in South America.

Initially, Busbud aggregated all the schedules of bus companies and later in 2014 evolved into an easy-to-use platform where passengers could book bus tickets in their own language and currency.

Busbud has partnerships with transport giants such as Flixbus and Greyhound, establishing themselves as one of the biggest online aggregation platforms for travellers. Working with the largest online travel agency in intercity bus transportation can help transport operators extend their reach and gain an edge over their competitors.

Busbud, with offerings from over 3,900 bus companies connecting 21,000+ cities across 80+ countries, is a go-to place for travellers, especially millennials, looking for city-to-city transportation. That’s what makes Busbud a larger marketplace for transport operators focused on intercity transportation.

Transport operators can learn more about Busbud and sign up here.

Wanderu (Bus & Train Transportation)

Boston-based OTA provides what ground travellers need the most— bus and train schedules and prices. Wanderu is the official partner of hundreds of bus and rail carriers across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, making it a popular choice among travellers.

With over two million listings from hundreds of carriers, Wanderu strives to create a travel brand for millennials. Wanderu’s core demographic is Millennial travellers, mainly students and young professionals between 16 and 34 years old who want inexpensive and reliable travel services.

The leading bus and train travel search platform in North America can give transport operators massive exposure to these young travellers who rely on bus and train services to reach their destinations.

Being on a transportation OTA platform can give transport companies an edge as it is not as crowded as the OTAs for tours and activities. It will be easy for travellers to find you, especially tech-savvy millennials.

Learn more about joining Wanderu as a supplier here.

Final Take

Exploring the ever-evolving world of online activity sellers can amp up the sales and distribution strategy of tour and transport operators, but a decision should be made after careful consideration. Understanding each OTA and its specialties is vital before operators start working with them.

If you decide to add a few OTAs to your distribution mix, having a booking management system with OTA partnerships will make the process easier for you.

Zaui has partnered with the top-performing OTAs in the industry, and with its OTA channel manager, operators can automate the relationship, leaving behind the complexities of booking updates and payouts.

If you’re an existing Zaui customer, connect with our Customer Success team to make the best use of Zaui’s resell channels.

Interested in exploring the different types of selling opportunities available on Zaui? Connect with Zaui experts today to schedule a demo today.

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