Last year Australia welcomed more than 8.7 million international visitors, who proceeded to spend a whopping $41.2bn on transport, hospitality and activities. With China coming in a distant second place at $10bn in international visitor spend, Australia is the clear global leader in the tourism sector.
It seems only fitting that the world’s next generation tech for the US$1tn tourism industry should be born down under.
An industry slow to embrace online
Adventurous consumers spent an impressive US$147bn on tours and activities around the world in 2017. They were served by a highly fragmented market of suppliers offering everything from a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb to a four-wheel drive tours through the Daintree National Park.
While it is a common perception that web bookings are now the norm, in reality less than 20% of tours and activities are booked online. The remainder are booked over the phone, through hotel concierges or in-person travel agents.
Clunky manual processes ensure the supply chain for tours and activities remains inefficient, with a below average booking experience for the end consumer that leaves suppliers frustrated.
The current system fails to cater for the modern traveller, who seeks a curated marketplace, real time pricing and availability, the ability to book and pay online (on their mobile, of course) — and all with only 24 hours’ notice, usually after they have arrived at their destination.
The infrastructure is missing
To create an amazing customer experience, tours and activities need to be discoverable, visually appealing and contextual. But first and foremost, they need to be bookable. So why are the majority of suppliers today not bookable online?
Some would assume this is a result of tours and activities suppliers being unsophisticated when it comes to technology.
However, the more likely scenario is that tour operators need specific solutions and tools to run their business that standard scheduling software fails to manage. Consider the stark contrast between managing availability, scheduling and bookings for a helicopter tour versus a winery tour or walking tour.
Bringing the supply side online first
Rezdy is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform built for the global tours and activities market. The business was founded by Simon Lenoir after he became frustrated with the pen and paper bookings system he had to endure while managing a dive centre in Thailand. He saw an opportunity and returned to Sydney in 2011, where he set about leveraging his IT background to build Rezdy.
Rezdy has the sophistication to seamlessly manage a tour operator’s entire back-end administration, with an inventory distribution and online marketing focus, to enable its customers to put down the pen and paper and focus on growing their business.
The industry is evolving rapidly
At Bailador, we see the opportunity. We also have a good appreciation for how to seize this opportunity drawing on our experience working with SiteMinder, the global leader in hotel channel management software.
The nascent stage of this sector is extremely exciting — considering that no equivalent to booking.com exists in the tour and activities sector, the demand side is up for grabs. With its team of industry specialists and international presence, Rezdy is well positioned to advance quickly in the race to bring the tours and activities market online.