European travel activities market tops 38 billion euros
European travelers spent more than EUR 38 billion on travel activities in 2013, representing roughly 13% of the region’s travel market. But while digital channels play an increasingly important role among European travelers, according to an upcoming report — “When They Get There (and Why They Go): Activities, Attractions, Events and Tours in Europe” (March 3, 2014) — from travel industry research authority PhoCusWright, only one quarter of travel activity gross bookings is transacted online.
Over the past decade, technological and commercial innovations have generated substantial interest in opportunities to drive online distribution and mobile discovery of in-destination events, activities, attractions and tours. Between 2005 and 2012, travel activities startups attracted over US$130 million in capital, and the investment flow continues. However, a substantial majority of activities continue to be booked offline.
“The travel activities opportunity is substantial, but so are the segment’s challenges,” says Douglas Quinby, PhoCusWright’s vice president, research. “The tools and technologies needed to transform the activities marketplace exist, but numerous inhibitors — including a highly fragmented activity provider landscape, entrenched booking behaviors, barriers to last-minute availability and challenging economics — are slowing the digitization of one of travel’s stubbornly offline segments. The potential remains for a disruptive player to drive rapid gains within the segment, but the profits will be painstakingly earned.”
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