We learned about diversity, food boxes and GetYourGuide at Arival 360’s second day
Arival 360’s second day arrived with more oomph than the first. This was because of its focus on the four Rs: rethink, reboot, restart, and rebound. A significant amount of time was devoted to reztech, and overall many of the talks were on success stories and moving forward through the pandemic.
Masks, social distancing and timed ticketing
Johannes Reck, co-founder and CEO of GetYourGuide, took an AMA with Douglas Quinby, the founder & CEO of Arival. Much of this chat centred around GetYourGuide’s latest funding round, which Reck was very pleased with. The online travel agency had just announced that they had raised €114m ($133m) in a “tremendous vote of confidence”, as Reck called it.
The rest of the discussion with Reck focussed on what he saw for the future of GetYourGuide with the pandemic and some of the issues operators were having with distribution. Operators have claimed that they have been having difficulties launching new products since the start of the pandemic. Reck said that he could not confirm this, but said that the bar was deliberately set high so that experiences sold through the platform were “great”.
For the future, people will be looking for smaller tours with masks, and operators will need to ensure they have timed ticketing so that social distancing is possible. Reck said that GetYourGuide’s “tech stack is developing towards [these measures] to allow the supply base to actually do exactly that”.
Reck was also questioned on the company’s Originals product line. These are tours provided by the OTA, not an operator selling through the platform. Some of the Originals products are very similar to those provided by operators already in the market. Reck said that GetYourGuide had not been using their data to see what would perform well even if it was in direct competition. He does not want to see cannibalisation and wants to ensure GetYourGuide is an equitable platform to grow the whole market.
This was followed by a panel where a group of operators were given the opportunity to respond with their own thoughts on Reck’s comments. This was a little difficult for the operators and could have been moderated better. It felt as if the operators were at times being asked to bite one of the hands that feeds them, which is obviously something they wouldn’t wish to do at this time. In general, they were content with their relationship with GetYourGuide, unless they camped on their brand names in Google search.
A successful pivot that supports local businesses
One of the best talks came from Theresa Nemetz, the founder and chief experience officer of Milwaukee Food & City Tours. As Covid swept across America, shutting down her tours until July, Nemetz pivoted her business to delivering food boxes to bring Milwaukee to people’s doorsteps. Using her range of local contacts, she has now sold $250,000-worth of these, mostly through word-of-mouth. While many have been bought by people to send to friends and family missing Wisconsin, this led to corporates picking up large volumes of the boxes and partnerships with the local government.
Diversity in travel has become a hot-button topic since the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement across the world after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in the US. Another excellent discussion at Arival 360 came from Cheraé Robinson, the founder & CEO of Tastemakers Africa on how to ensure the tourism industry speaks to people of colour. Black travellers spent $63b in 2018. This isn’t a number operators should sniff at. However, the focus shouldn’t be on a dollar number but should take into account a range of factors, such as community, equitable ownership, authenticity, representation and transparency.
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