David Schelp, TUI Musement CEO believes that the global Tours & Activities market will start to recover as early as 2021 and that ‘the previous record year of 2019 will be eclipsed by 2023.’
A bullish Schelp added that “Up until now the market has been characterized by a multitude of small, very local suppliers – a large brand like TUI can provide security and reliability as a common platform.”
Alessandro Petazzi, Chief Growth Officer of TUI Musement added that over the last few months his teams have worked on ‘further optimizing experiences for customers and partners. Experiences during a trip are popular, but in recent months there has also been growth in bookings for activities in customers’ hometowns or regions.’
TUI is not the first to report an uptick in local bookings, just this morning CBS in NYC reported that New York City sightseeing buses are seeing an increase in locals taking tours as the pandemic keeps tourists away.
TUI get flexible to ally bookers fears over COVID related cancellations.
According to TUI/Musement 85 percent of all experiences can be cancelled free of charge up to 24 hours before they start.
With hygiene and safety standards above the current market standard, a quick restart will be possible during 2021 they claim.
The Tourpreneur Take
Before COVID-19, global OTAs’ focused heavily on marketing tours and experiences in major destinations and to international travelers.
How will OTAs pivot to catering to local demand i.e. New Yorkers wanting to book tours in New York?
This pivot will likely require a new marketing strategy which will need to include the different psychology of a local booker over a foreign visitor.
Historically, major OTAs’ focus on the major attractions and experiences in a city, think Empire State Building or Alcatraz. Will OTAs now promote the more unique, boutique, and local tours such as a pizza tour or a ghost tour in a destination?
If so this could be good news for experiences that have received little business from the major OTAs in the past.
About TUI Musement
TUI Musement is a leading Tours & Activities business that combines a scalable digital platform with local service delivery in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Available in all major holiday and city destinations to travelers around the world, including the 28 million annual TUI customers, there are currently more than 170,000 ‘things to do’ – including excursions, activities, tickets, and transfers.
These are distributed through the Musement and TUI websites and apps, and B2B partners, including the world’s leading OTAs, tour operators, cruise lines, and travel companies.
TUI Musement is one of the major growth areas of TUI Group and in FY19 generated a revenue of EUR 1.2bn, delivered by 9,000 employees.