Initially TripAdvisor’s 2014 acquisition of Viator for a cool $200 million had many scratching their heads. However the reason for this strategic move has now become clear. TripAdvisor has officially released Viator Marketplace, their new open listings platform that allows tour and activity operators to load and sell their products on Viator.
Previously, Viator used a curated approach to listings where operators had to be hand-selected to be listed. Now with their open platform, any tour operator may apply. Viator Marketplace allows tour operators to sell their product online, with a ‘book now’ button featured on both TripAdvisor and Viator.
There are two ways to access the service:
1. Viator Extranet
Operators can sign up for Viator’s Extranet, where they can self-load products, create their own tour descriptions, add images and manage availability and bookings. Within the extranet, operators can opt to sell their product either by free sale or upon request.
● Free sale gives the customer instant confirmation of their booking and is suitable for operators whose business is not likely to oversell their tours or activities.
● On request allows the operator to check availability before the booking is confirmed with the customer.
In both cases, the operator must login to Viator on a regular basis to manage their inventory and ensure that overbooking does not occur across their traditional and Viator systems. Viator’s extranet is a good option for operators without an online reservation system; however administration time is involved using this approach as they are required to check bookings and load/update inventory on a regular basis to avoid overbooking.
If available, operators can set Viator up as a channel partner/reseller using their online reservation software’s direct connection to Viator. The software’s integrated API communicates with Viator to provide live inventory to customers. The benefit of this approach is that it greatly cuts down on administration time as there is a single source of inventory, which can be accessed and shared across multiple channels; including from the back office, online via the operator’s own website, or across any reseller channel integrated by their reservation software provider. Other benefits include not requiring staff members to manually enter bookings from resellers, elimination of data entry errors from manual input, real time confirmations for both customers and resellers and speeds up payments to operators.
Operators using Zaui Software can opt to go with the third option, using the live connection to sell on Viator. Operators using Zaui have the ability to set various rules to control what inventory is available to be sold through reseller channels.
So what are the Benefits?
Viator Marketplace greatly broadens the potential distribution for tour and activity operators, therefore leading to higher conversions. Viator is offered in nine languages and ten currencies, opening the door to non-English speaking and foreign visitors. Users also benefit from TripAdvisor and Viator’s global advertising programs on Google, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook.
Are there any Drawbacks?
The referral service provided by TripAdvisor and Viator is not free of charge. Commission rates charged can be a deterrent for some operators. As such it is essential that operators are smart about what tours and activities they make available over these platforms. Considering seasonality, popular time slots, public holidays and other local events will allow operators to get the most value for dollar out of these services.
About Zaui Software
Zaui Software was founded in 1999 and is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Zaui is a leading software innovator, operating exclusively in the tourism industry with software installs around the world. Our customers use Zaui to run all aspects of their business and be more productive without having to worry about expensive or outdated hardware or software.
For more information and to see first-hand how Zaui can improve your business visit us online.
To integrate with Zaui Software’s API platform and connect live to our growing list of global tour, activity and airport transportation customers visit Zaui for Resellers.
Viator, a TripAdvisor company, is the leading global tours and activities provider for travelers, delivering online and mobile access to thousands of curated trip activities including tours, attractions, shore excursions and private guides, in more than 1,500 destinations worldwide. In-house travel experts work with trusted local operators to ensure the quality and value of every experience, all backed by Viator’s 24/7 customer service and global low-price guarantee.