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05 Sep 23NEWS
Arival 360 Conference to explore the future of AI in travelThe lineup of events and speakers has been announced for the annual Arival 360 Conference 2023. ...Read moreArival 360 Conference to explore the future of AI in travel - News & announcementsThe lineup of events and speakers has been announced for the annual Arival 360 Conference 2023. It takes place in Orlando, Florida, from October 9-12. It attracts leaders in the global tours, experiences and activities sector. Major topics this year will include AI for the experiences industry, digital distribution, and pricing. "The travel industry and the way people experience it is going through another period of dynamic change – and experiences are at the heart of that," said Douglas Quinby, CEO, Arival. Over 1,000 delegates from tours, activities, attractions and experiences sectors are expected to attend. Confirmed speakers include: ALKA CARTER-MANNING, Regional Director EMEA & Global Accounts, TUI Musement CASANDRA MATEJ, President & CEO, Visit Orlando SARAH DINES, Chief Commercial Officer, Viator GREG DESHIELDS, Executive Director, Tourism Diversity Matters DAN CHRISTIAN, CEO & Founder, Acceleration Team, Inc. JUDY GAULTHIER, Chief Commercial Officer, Go City LISA CHEN, President, ToursByLocals JUSTIN CHARSCHAN, Manager, Ticketing, Major League Baseball MARC MEKKI, Innovation Thinker, Inspire Limitless MICHAEL CHUA, Vice President, Global Business Development & Strategic Partnerships, Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. MYRA GALINATO, Vice President & General Manager, Blue Hawaiian Activities SCOTT O'NEIL, CEO, Merlin Entertainments Delegates will also have the opportunity to connect with peers and key distributors and potential partners. This year's event hosts the first ever Arival and TourReview Spotlight Awards – a duo of awards aimed at recognizing outstanding businesses. The Conference takes place at the Rosen Shingle Creek, one of the largest full-service convention hotels in Central Florida. Delegates can register here.
06 Jun 23Expert Hub
Travelers Can Now Find Tours Through Google Maps: Will They Find You?With the recent addition of “Experiences” to Google Maps, we revisit Things to do ...Read moreTravelers Can Now Find Tours Through Google Maps: Will They Find You? - News & announcementsWith the recent addition of “Experiences” to Google Maps, we revisit Things to do with an up-to-date walkthrough for operators and suppliers of tours, activities and attractions. Guided experiences are now available on Google Maps, in addition to attractions tickets, with the latest update to Google Things to do. Google is constantly experimenting with and evolving the way its “Things to do” module looks and works. Since launching Things to do in 2021, and launching it into Google Maps in 2022, there have been multiple iterations of the attraction and experience booking arm of Google Travel. So where are we at with Google Things to do now, what does it mean for operators, and how can you optimize your listings to take the most advantage of the opportunity? In an upcoming Arival | Elevate session on Google Things to do session, Christian Watts from Magpie Travel will walk us through a few of the top need-to-knows for operators and suppliers of tours, activities, attractions and experiences. Here’s a preview video from Watts, followed by some key Google Things to do need-to-knows below. A walkthrough of Google Things to do for tour, activity and attraction operators and suppliers with Magpie Travel’s CEO Christian Watts WHAT IS GOOGLE THINGS TO DO? Google Things to do is the tours, activities, attractions and experiences arm of Google Travel: in other words, Google’s window into the Best Part of Travel, the in-destination industry. It’s essentially the way Google displays search results for everything that people want to do when they get to a destination. Most importantly, for operators and suppliers of tours, activities, attractions and experiences — or things to do — it’s essential to getting found by travelers using Google to plan their trips… and it’s free. While there are paid ad options, product listings themselves are free, and when a user clicks on your listing they are brought directly to your website. “Google is always trying to find the right way to display the information for people,” explains Watts, “it’s a constant test, there’s new things coming out all the time.” HOW DOES GOOGLE THINGS TO DO WORK? Currently, there are multiple display surfaces where users can find things to do on Google, as Watts explains. Searching for a POI (point of interest) such as the Eiffel Tower will bring up an “admissions” section which lists tickets, and an “experiences” section which lists tours that include the Eiffel Tower as part of the tour. Searching for a location will also bring up POI options, and general travel-related searches may bring up a “Tickets & Tours” ad carousel. The most recent update is to Google Maps, which as of August 2022 began displaying tickets for attractions, and now is also displaying experiences, which is potentially huge for traffic for tour operators, as Watts observes. HOW DO I GET MY PRODUCTS LISTED ON GOOGLE THINGS TO DO? To get your products listed on Google Things to do, you can use a connectivity partner such as an online travel agency (OTA), reservation system or independent connectivity provider, or by using Google’s self-service editing tool launched in October 2022 for attractions. In the walkthrough video above, Watts explains the different types of connectivity partners, demonstrates the process of loading up a product listing using Magpie’s interface, and some important questions to ask your connectivity partner. While Google does offer a self-service tool, at Arival 360 | Berlin Google’s Director of Product Management overseeing Things to do, Emmanuel Marot explained the benefit of using a connectivity partner: “If you have many different product, then it becomes more complicated,” he explains, especially for larger operators who would need to upload and edit each product manually. “And of course one benefit of a connectivity partner is [they] would also push this inventory to other places in Google.” (Insider Pro Access members can watch Marot’s full session here.) DO I ACTUALLY NEED TO DO GOOGLE THINGS TO DO? “Do you need this? Yes, you need this now,” concludes Watts. “The OTAs have been doing this for months, they’re getting tons of bookings through this… other people are going to get the business indirectly if you don’t want to do it yourself. “This is a place where you can compete directly with [OTAs], they have no advantage over your products that are submitted,” continues Watts, “and your competitors are also doing it so it is something you need to jump on now, it’s only going to get more important.” To learn more about Google Things to do, get it directly from the source at Arival Activate | Bangkok 2023 in June, where a team from Google will be leading a session on Things to do for operators and suppliers of tours, activities and attractions. by Janelle Visser
05 Jun 23Expert Hub
Why Is Airbnb Pausing Experiences?Industry insiders weigh in on what’s next for Airbnb Experiences and the impact to ...Read moreWhy Is Airbnb Pausing Experiences? - News & announcementsIndustry insiders weigh in on what’s next for Airbnb Experiences and the impact to operators using the platform. The recent news that Airbnb is pausing new submissions on its experiences platform has come as a surprise to many, especially after Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky declared in August 2022 that experiences are “going to be a big part of our story in 2023 and beyond over the next five years.” This pause of new submissions does not impact existing experiences, but current as well as new hosts can no longer add experiences to the platform. Airbnb is a significant distribution partner for many experience creators, and has had a huge impact on the industry as a whole, as discussed in Arival’s Inside Airbnb Experiences report. So what does this mean for the experiences sector of travel; tours, activities and attractions, what we at Arival call The Best Part of Travel? What will the impact on the experiences industry be if this “pause” endures? We checked in with a number of operators using the Airbnb platform and industry pundits to gauge the impact and current sentiment of those affected by the news. Here’s what they had to say. AIRBNB EXPERIENCES NEEDS TO CHANGE Airbnb is an essential distribution partner for many operators due to their volume and their lower commissions (20%, which is below the industry standard of 25-30% or more among other online travel agencies). Operators had a lot of positive things to say about the platform, but many also noted that major improvements are needed. “Airbnb is the reason I have a tour business,” says Justin Steele, Founder of Local Sauce Tours. “I started in 2018 with an ‘off the beaten track’ walking tour exclusively on Airbnb Experiences…. It would have been impossible to achieve the quick growth I did without Airbnb. Even now, although I’m on basically all platforms, Airbnb brings in about one third of my bookings.” Even with his highly positive experience, Steele thinks Airbnb is making the right choice to hit pause for improvements. “As a host I know there were lots of poor experiences on there in terms of product-market fit,” he shares. “So I think they know they need to improve supply and make some big changes to the platform, and they can’t keep on approving new experiences when they are going to make changes soon — that wouldn’t be fair on the hosts of the new experiences. The pause gives them breathing space.” Brian Cain, Owner of Crawl New Orleans, Crawl Nashville & Crawl Austin and an active host on Airbnb has a lot of love for the platform as well. Because of their demographics (typical customers are under 40 years old), people staying at Airbnbs are finding his tours via the targeting and retargeting that Airbnb does once lodging is booked. “I have to be listed there, they bring a lot of bookings,” he shares. Like many other tour operators, Cain has also taken advantage of Airbnb’s co-host feature. This enables his company to be listed, with multiple tour guides shown as hosts for the Airbnb Experiences. However Cain also recognizes change is needed. “When I saw the news I wasn’t surprised, but some things have to change,” with ensuring hosts have the proper permits and insurance high on his list. “New Orleans is a highly regulated city, guides need licenses, companies need permits, most Airbnb hosts aren’t legit businesses here in NOLA,” he explains. “But once my guides see they can get on the platform without these costs and make direct bookings, many of them leave us to be an Airbnb host. I hate that this makes it difficult for us to hire and retain guides and have to compete with my former guides in this environment”.
Crawl New Orleans operates an “Adults Only Ghost Tour” via Airbnb ExperiencesCONNECTIVITY TO RESTECHS TOP OF EVERYONE’S WISH LISTS While opinions on exactly which changes were needed varied by operator, lack of connectivity to restechs (industry shorthand for reservation technology) or booking systems was mentioned by every operator as a major hindrance and pain point to listing experiences on Airbnb. Every Airbnb booking causes manual receipt of emails to then input into your reservation system while receiving no customer information (email, phone number), explains Cain. “Each booking is time consuming and inefficient.” “They’ve never shown interest in connectivity,” observes John O’Sullivan, Founding Director of Depot Adventures. “They focus on ‘quality experiences,’ which really seems to mean uniqueness. For me, they have to start connecting with restechs via API connections to grow their business and their operator partner’s businesses.” For smaller operators, connectivity may not always be top of mind. “I use a restech and it’s actually not hard to keep on top of new bookings,” shares Steele. “I do have to add Airbnb bookings manually but it takes less than a minute to do so. At the moment I’m getting around 50 bookings a month from Airbnb so that is maybe one hour a month spent on entering bookings.” However, as operators grow, connectivity becomes more indispensable. For Eliav Cohen, Co-Pilot of Seattle Ballooning, this lack of connectivity was a deal breaker. “As a hot air balloon company I used them years ago but found due to them not integrating with booking systems, it wasn’t scaleable.” Airbnb’s neglect of connectivity to restechs is the biggest headache for their partners and biggest roadblock to Airbnb’s future success with experiences. If this pause allows them to rethink that strategy, it could help them win over more operators and drive more volume more efficiently. Adding connectivity to OCTO, an industry standard for connectivity, plus a few additional integrations could create connectivity to thousands of leading operators fairly quickly. SHOULD AIRBNB EXPAND BEYOND “UNIQUE EXPERIENCES?” In terms of how exactly Airbnb should change, reviews are mixed on whether they should double down on their core focus of unique “live like a local” experiences… or expand beyond it. “Airbnb is stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to build a profit center based on curated low-profit tours,” observes Mitch Bach, co-founder and CEO of TripSchool. As Bach explains, the “marketing-friendly long tail” of unique experiences like goat yoga and beer in treehouses may be better for PR than more classic experiences including man made and natural attractions, but they have low profit margins and are not proven to be scalable. “Add to that purposely eschewing the traditional base of guides and tours, it’s an uphill battle creating and training a new market,” says Bach. “The justification for experiences in my mind has been generating loyalty to the brand as a sort of add-on reward, but not a profit center. To go beyond that will require a fundamental shift of vision.” For some operators, this add-on model works well. “Most of the bookings we receive come from guests staying at local Airbnbs,” shares Depot Adventures’ O’Sullivan. “I think of them as a concierge for the city. Viator is a much bigger channel, but Airbnb bookings have grown over 100% since 2019.” O’Sullivan believes Airbnb represents a big part of the discovery of experiences, in contrast with other OTAs who he sees as primarily booking engines. “Airbnb is such a different product than other OTAs,” he says. He fears that if Airbnb goes away, many of his customers will as well as they wouldn’t discover his tours through other channels. “But I don’t believe they are winding down, I do think this is a pause to take another look at the overall business.”
One of Depot Adventures’ experience listings on AirbnbWithlocals is one of the leading platforms in the world for travelers to “travel with a local”, similar in many ways to Airbnb Experiences. “Scaling a very diverse portfolio of unique, individual experiences is crazy difficult,” offers Matthijs Keij, CEO of Withlocals. “I haven’t seen any company yet that has been able to pull this off. The main challenge on the supply side is to maintain both the quality and the uniqueness of the portfolio.” “In the case of Airbnb,” observes Keij, “the sheer volume of experiences offered has made it challenging to manage the platform effectively, leading to inconsistencies in quality and availability. So it’s not a major surprise they want to rethink the way experiences contribute to their overall success.” Airbnb has relied on lodging guests to drive their business and for many smaller operators and hosts, and that has been a good source of bookings. But the focus on unique and niche experiences leaves a lot of bookings and money on the table. According to Arival research, approximately 80% of industry revenue comes from 10% of operators (the large and iconic tours, activities and attractions). WILL WHAT WORKED FOR ACCOMMODATIONS WORK FOR EXPERIENCES? While experiences is sometimes seen as an add-on to Airbnb’s primary business model of accommodation, there are signs they’re attempting to model its development after the success of their lodging offerings. When it launched, Airbnb started with people sharing rooms, homes and sometimes unique, even weird places. They then expanded to include full home rentals, which led into the vacation rental market, building connectivity to leading vacation rental reservation systems, and diversification into hotels with their acquisition of HotelTonight. As previously reported by Arival. Airbnb appeared to be taking a similar approach with experiences, gradually adding on more conventional tours and encouraging some experience hosts to build experiences around highly sought-after points of interest, such as the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre and other iconic sites and attractions in major destinations. In 2019 Airbnb made a significant investment in Tiqets, a leading experiences OTA. Tiqets focuses on mainstream attractions from museums to iconic attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, The Vatican and the London Eye. This certainly seemed to be a signal at the time that Airbnb was investing in distribution of more traditional experiences. But they haven’t integrated Tiqets products and it’s unclear what that investment – if anything – means for Airbnb. However, not everyone thinks following the same pattern is the right move. “Things-to-do is not the same as places-to-stay,” comments Christian Watts, founder and CEO of Magpie Travel. “I think they fell into the trap of trying to build the exact same concept as they did in homes.” If Alex Grant, Founder of Travel Curious is right, Airbnb may never succeed so long as accommodation remains its core business. “It’s so messy that I believe only an experiences- and tours-first company mindset will ever dominate,” says Grant. AIRBNB PAUSE GIVES OPERATORS BREAK FROM COMPETITION, BUT ALSO HALTS EXPANSION For some, the pause is a cause for some nervousness, but also a welcome break from new competition. “My experiences are all set, so in some ways this is good news, I won’t see other competitors start to pop up in my areas,” shares O’Sullivan. “But I am concerned about their strategy changing. Because they’re such an important partner I hope they will continue, and not just continue, but improve the platform for operators. There is so much that’s good about working with Airbnb Experiences, I hope this pause gives them time to make significant strategic changes.” “I’m happy that it will reduce competition and I’m excited for changes to make it a better platform,” agrees Brie Xavier, Owner of Brie’s Botanical Tours, who would like to see “more money spent on marketing experiences, more support for experience hosts such as training, certifications, helping with video and photo quality.” Xavier got started with Airbnb Experiences through hosting her house on Airbnb. Originally, Airbnb represented 90% of her bookings. Now that she has her own website with a restech booking widget, direct bookings are much more important and prevalent, and she shares the hopes of other operators that Airbnb’s improvements will include restech connectivity. Kara Ricciardi, founder of Stretchy Pants Food Tours, one of the first operators on Airbnb, isn’t concerned at all about the pause, although she would like to add new experiences. “As a small tour operator, Airbnb experiences has been lovely to work with and account for around half of Stretchy Pants’ revenue. I hope this pause will lead to fantastic updates in the category,” Ricciardi says. “I am still getting bookings so this pause, on my end, doesn’t feel like much has changed… I do have a new experience I would love to add, so I’m looking forward to a timeline from Airbnb about when I can add it.” However, some operators who rely on the platform find the pause disruptive. “It’s aggravating,” shares Cain, whose request to list experiences in Austin is now on hold. “I’m looked at as a new host in the market and despite the challenges, it’s important for us to be listed on Airbnb Experiences in this new market for us. I hope they make some necessary changes and start enabling new experiences to be listed soon.”
Airbnb’s menu no longer has the option to “Host an experience” (left: Dec. 2022, right: Apr. 2023)WHAT’S NEXT FOR AIRBNB EXPERIENCES? Could this be the end? “It will be a hard sell to their hosts, as well as a blow to their brand and vision, if Airbnb decides to stop offering experiences altogether,” offers Keij. “On the other hand, from a financial perspective it would only be a small dent in their overall revenue.” However, Airbnb hasn’t indicated an intention to cancel experiences entirely. An Airbnb statement included, “We are excited about the future of Airbnb Experiences and expect to provide more information in the coming months.” So where do they go from here? “Given the fact that various experience companies show that you can build a differentiating product at scale, I would not be surprised if Airbnb takes this pause to reconsider their approach towards experience curation and the vetting of new hosts,” continues Keij. “Based on their company vision, experiences should play a pivotal role, even though accommodation is the primary financial driver.” Likely, Airbnb will continue to experiment. As Peter Syme, Partner at Tourpreneur observes:
- “They have Brand recognition that is off the charts. Every single Airbnb customer I have hosted knows they booked with Airbnb. I cannot say that about any other OTA. Nothing like it.
- They have customers.
- The market is on fire and growing fast
- Supply is not an issue depending on what they want to do.
- Cash is not an issue.
- Talent is not an issue. Lots are available.”
20 Apr 23Partner News
Travel experiences in APAC forecast to approach pre-pandemic levels by 2024 – ArivalRecovery in Asia Pacific for travel’s third-largest sector – tours, activities and attractions – ...Read moreTravel experiences in APAC forecast to approach pre-pandemic levels by 2024 – Arival - News & announcementsRecovery in Asia Pacific for travel’s third-largest sector – tours, activities and attractions – is now well underway, with consumers putting experiences first in their travel planning and spending Travel experiences in Asia Pacific have returned to rapid growth as the region reopens to regional and long-haul travel, finds new research from Arival, released ahead of its Arival Activate event in Bangkok. Tours, activities and attractions – travel’s third-largest and fastest growing sector – will reach US$67 billion in 2024 and surpass the pre-pandemic peak to reach $75 billion in 2025, according to its The Outlook for Experiences 2019-2025 research. “The Asia Pacific region has borne the worst of the pandemic, with a broad regional shutdown in cross-border travel well beyond other parts of the world,” said Arival CEO Douglas Quinby. “But demand for travel in the region is now accelerating as many borders have reopened, encouraging travelers to return. As we saw when other regions reopened, travelers put experiences first in travel planning and spend. The challenge now will be for the global industry to get ready for the rapid influx of demand from across Asia Pacific.” Online bookings will surpass 30% of all tours, activities and attractions booking worldwide in 2025, up from 17% in 2019, according to Arival research. However, online booking volume across Asia Pacific will more than triple during the same period as younger travelers shape travel’s rebound. Online marketplaces and mobile-ready operators across the region will be best positioned to benefit. “The large, experience-hungry cohort of Gen-Z and millennial travelers in Asia are putting experiences first and they are willing to pay for it,” said Arival’s Quinby. “But operators must be ready. This means more small-group, immersive experiences that get travelers off the beaten. And it must all be discoverable and bookable on mobile, with plenty of Instagram- and TikTok-worthy moments.” The Arival Activate event takes place in Bangkok from June 12-14, and is expected to bring together hundreds of tours, activities and experiences professionals from across the region. Some reasons to attend Arival Activate:
- Arival Activate is an event designed specifically for the Asian experiences Industry, including suppliers and operators of tours, activities, and attractions
- The primary focus this year is on aiding businesses in navigating their post-pandemic recovery through targeted sessions on digital strategies, networking and connecting with leading distributors and OTAs in the APAC region.
- There will be dedicated sessions on connectivity, channel management, dynamic pricing, generative chat, super apps, the guest experience, the future of distribution, sustainable tourism, culinary travel trends.
23 Feb 23Partner News
Experience sector leaders to gather in Bangkok for Arival | Activate June 12-14, 2023More than 500 travel industry delegates set to attend Event will focus on shift ...Read moreExperience sector leaders to gather in Bangkok for Arival | Activate June 12-14, 2023 - News & announcements
- More than 500 travel industry delegates set to attend
- Event will focus on shift towards experience-led travel industry in APAC and Oceania
14 Feb 22Partner News
How To Grow Your Revenue With Gifting – ArivalThe gift of a tour, activity and experience is one that most people say ...Read moreHow To Grow Your Revenue With Gifting – Arival - News & announcementsThe gift of a tour, activity and experience is one that most people say that they would prefer. Virgin Experience Gifts’ Melanie White walked Arival 360 attendees through how operators can grow their business with gifting. Experience gifting is one of the hot trends coming out of the pandemic. The uncertainty of the supply chain crisis has pushed people away from physical presents towards giving memories. There are also demographic changes. Gen Z wants experiences more than they want stuff. “According to the 2021 Sitecore Holiday Trend Report, 71% of people surveyed responded that they would prefer to receive an experience based gift for the holiday,” Melanie White, executive vice president of Virgin Experience Gifts, told Arival 360 San Diego.
FLEXIBILITY IS ESSENTIALRecipients must be able to redeem their gift whenever they wish — Kamil Pietrzak / Unsplash Flexibility is a must to sell tours, activities and attractions as gifts. The guest must be able to use it whenever they wish. White said that a potential customer will be put off and not buy a product simply because they are asked to choose a date. “Arguably the most important [piece of the sales process] is flexibility,” White said. Guests need to be convinced that buying an experience gift is just as easy as buying a physical product. “The gift giver wants a simple purchasing process and the confidence that when their recipient is going to be able to To redeem their gift whenever they’re ready.
BE CREATIVE WITH GIFT PRODUCTSCreate packages to build meaning for givers and recipients — Matt Bowden / Unsplash Gifts are always meant to be special, even if they are not always well-received. That means if operators put in a little bit of extra effort to differentiate and package their products as gifts, they should see greater rewards. White says that operators should “think outside the box with your offerings” to create packages and products that will help build meaning for the person receiving the gift. “Something as simple as a souvenir water bottle or a t shirt could make all the difference,” she said.
ENSURE CAPACITY IS AVAILABLECreate packages to build meaning for givers and recipients — Matt Bowden / Unsplash While operators need to be flexible with the options that they provide for gift vouchers, it can cause issues with capacity planning. This may be more of a concern in a period of timed ticketing and capacity restraints. Operators should consider creating unique products, White said, that allow them to manage visitors. That will allow operators to manage numbers and help experience recipients to redeem their tours without bother. “One of the biggest challenges to a voucher base model for operators is capacity planning,” White said. “You may sell a high volume of vouchers during peak gifting times and it’s very important that the recipients of those gifts are able to easily redeem them whenever they’re ready. “You may not want to offer your best selling tour that sells out daily. Instead, consider offering a unique gifting package for another tour with more availability.” To access more interviews and watch curated content from the Arival conference, join us online Arival 360 San Diego attendees have full access to Arival 360 Online. Tickets are $299 for non-members and Pro Access members can attend for free Become a Pro Access member and get easy access to all of Arival’s online events, including Arival 360 San Diego, and our complete library of premium research and Arival guides for operators for a full year, starting at just $119 for small operators
14 Feb 22Expert Hub
Reaching Gen Z: Getting Inside The Heads Of Today’s Young AdultsGen Z — 18–25-year-olds — are the first digital native cohort to begin exploring the ...Read moreReaching Gen Z: Getting Inside The Heads Of Today’s Young Adults - News & announcementsGen Z — 18–25-year-olds — are the first digital native cohort to begin exploring the world. How do you reach them, what do they want, and who even are they? Stephen Joyce explainsTimes they are a-changing, and with it everything that we know about marketing. The generation in their late teens and early twenties — Gen Z, or zoomers — are the first to live their whole lives with the internet in their pocket rather than tied to a desk. That has changed how they consume content and how they travel.While words work best when trying to sell to boomers, generation X and millennials online, it is pictures and video that inspire the youngest cohort. They are also to be found in different places online. Boomers and generation X are most likely to be found on Facebook, Instagram has a mix of mostly millennials and Gen X, and zoomers, with a handful of millennials, on TikTok and Snapchat. Everyone’s on YouTube.“They’re not going to these sites to just book a flight somewhere and hang out in the hotel. They want to do cool stuff. And they want that cool stuff to be the inspiration for them to travel. “Who has that stuff? You have that stuff, right? So this is where you get to be part of that experience for them.” Zoomers are also looking for a seamless online experience, which many operators do not provide. They are not used to websites that do not work, or that are heavy, clunky and don’t display properly on mobile. “They’re digital natives,” Joyce said. “They did not grow up with a crappy user experience. We grew up with slow internet, terrible software, terrible hardware, and we had to deal with that. “Our generations are much more forgiving. Gen Z doesn’t even know about this. “You, as owners, need to make sure that your mobile-first websites, your apps, and your booking engines are designed for the best possible user experience for this very, very discriminating generation.”
“IF YOU ARE USING FACEBOOK, YOU ARE NOT REACHING THE GEN Z AUDIENCE”Gen Z do not spend their time online using Facebook — Alexander Shatov / Unsplash “It’s pretty clear that if you’re targeting millennials, Gen X and boomers on Facebook, you are not reaching the Gen Z audience,” Joyce said. “That is how different those two audiences are right now. Marketing and advertising campaigns that worked for those older generations simply won’t work for Gen Z. “The reason is because, according to Snap in a survey, pretty much all of Gen Z has smartphones, and that’s the way that they’re researching and booking their travel. They are not talking to travel agents in real life or on the phone. They simply aren’t. They are moving online, they are shopping online, and surprisingly, they are using OTAs.” That means operators need to reach them before the OTAs do — or rely on the OTAs performance marketing departments — and allow them to pay online using the methods they prefer.
WHAT ARE GEN Z LOOKING FOR?Unique experiences are what Gen Z travel for — Braden Collum / Unsplash Research on Gen Z often shows that they are just not that interested in doing what everyone else has done before them. Like everyone before them, they want to be unique and authentic in their own way. That means they are rejecting the fakery of Instagram and the (sorry boomers) sheer boredom of Facebook, its Minions and the memes that have appeared on all the other networks six months beforehand (Instagram is only a month behind). This search for uniqueness extends to travel — they do not want to do what everyone else is doing. Gen Z wants a fuller and richer experience of their location than millennials, whose pictures from the 10 Most Instagrammable Places in Cancún they’ve seen a thousand times. Zoomers want to go big. “80% of Gen Z’s are looking for unique, interesting, once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list experiences — that’s what they’re looking for,” Joyce said.
WHO ARE GEN Z?Largely, Gen Z seem to be good kids. Many — but not all — have the advantages that the generations before them have fought for, and they are fighting their own battles for the future. Most seem to be able to be who they want and are accepted. They care about others and themselves. Much of the information on the generation suggests they are less likely to smoke, drink or do drugs than those who came before them, and they enjoy exercise and staying healthy, particularly in the mind. “The other thing to keep in mind,” Joyce said. “Is that they care a lot. 60% of Gen Z care about DEI — they care about diversity, they care about equality and inclusion. “That needs to be part of the framework. So what do you do? Create once in a lifetime experiences, change up the offerings that you’ve got — if you want to target this generation — make sure that you build in sustainability. “54% of Gen Z say that they want to stay in green or environmentally-friendly hotels. 60% of them want to use environmentally-friendly methods of transport when they’re in destination and 54% of them will pay more to use those services. “You need to walk the walk on your diversity, equity and inclusion policies. They are looking for companies that support this because they are diverse. “They are hardworking, they are creative and they are flexible. And they value mental health over materialism.” They would probably also hate to be defined, just as we do. To access more interviews and watch curated content from the Arival conference, join us online Arival 360 San Diego attendees have full access to Arival 360 Online. Tickets are $299 for non-members and Pro Access members can attend for free Become a Pro Access member and get easy access to all of Arival’s online events, including Arival 360 San Diego, and our complete library of premium research and Arival guides for operators for a full year, starting at just $119 for small operators
Attractions Forum @ Arival 360 | Orlando, 9-12 October 2023 | Where the Experiences Industry Gathers
Attractions Forum @ Arival 360 | Where the Experiences Industry Gathers
Are You Ready for Arival 360 | Orlando? 9-12 October 2023 | The Ultimate Tourism Networking Event!
Arival | Activate | 12-14 June 2023 | Join Us in Bangkok to grow your tour business!
Join Us @ Arival | Activate Bangkok | 12-14 June 2023 | Reconnect & Grow Your Tour Business
Arival | Activate Bangkok | 12-14 June 2023
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