Tours and activities providers are rethinking internal and external operations during the current slowdown while planning for the future, according to a panel discussion at Travel Forward Virtual.
Nadav Zin is chief technology for Travel Curious, a vertically integrated tour operator with a tours-as-a-service model. “We’re B2B so we track the sentiment of the wider industry. We are adapting our product to make it current, more domestic, smaller private tours,” he said.
Travel Curious has its own tour guides and was one of the many travel companies which looked at virtual tours during the travel shutdown. The platform used allowed viewers to engage directly with the guides via remote chat, a feature which appealed to younger viewers.
Elsewhere, Manuel Hilty, CEO of Nezasa agreed the slowdown was “a great time to do homework and look at our own costs, because that will key when travel returns and we have to scale up.”
He added that the business is “still focused on the long-term”. Nezasa has developed a propriety B2B trip planning platform offering flexible, responsive and hyper-personalised end-to-end journey management.
“Travellers will want even more control over their trips in the future. This desire hasn’t disappeared in a few months,” he said.
The other panellist, Pierre Mazurier from Great Scotland Yard Hotel, London, explained how the hotel has been talking to different partners as a result of the pandemic. The hotel opened in December 2019 as part of Hyatt’s Unbound collection.
“Our target audience was leisure travelers from the US, but we’ve quickly had to work out a new business mix and source markets – more corporate, more domestic.”
Rethinking the activities the hotel offered to guests is part of its attempts to reach new clients. “We worked with Travel Curious to allow guests to experience the history, art and architecture of the Grade-2 listed property, which used to be the HQ for the Metropolitan Police.”
Richard Gayle, Event Director, Travel Forward, said: “Tours and activities was the golden child of the travel tech industry before the pandemic. The sector has tried to keep up the momentum going by looking not only at the products they offer but also their internal processes.
“When travel returns, so too will the demand for tours and activities. The industry will be ready with new products and a new enthusiasm to create memorable experiences for travellers.”