Travel TechnologyNew association seeks to connect the "incredibly fragmented" systems in the travel activities space.

Operation OCTO unites tours and attractions sector

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OCTO offers an open-source specification to connect the various players in the tours and attractions sector.
OCTO offers an open-source specification to connect the various players in the tours and attractions sector. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Nattakorn Maneerat

A new non-profit association plans to integrate the “incredibly fragmented” technology and distribution landscape in the tours and attractions space.

OCTO – which stands for Open Connectivity for Tours, Activities & Attractions – comprises a consortium of leading reservation and ticketing system providers, distributors, experience operators and other companies in the tours, activities and attractions sector.

Key to OCTO’s establishment is a desire to advance technical connectivity standards for travel’s third-largest sector by maintaining an open-source technical specification and documentation for the industry.

The OCTO Spec will enable reservation and ticketing system providers and tour, activity and attraction ticket resellers to connect their systems for more efficient distribution.

Currently, OCTO has 32 member companies with expectations that more companies will join. Founding members include Arival, Go City, Magpie, Tiqets, among others.

“The technology and distribution landscape in tours and attractions is incredibly fragmented, with hundreds of technology providers, in-house technologies and many hundreds of resellers,” said Carrie Keplinger, EVP of Go City and vice president, OCTO.

“This has required each company to invest in new API development every time they want to connect to a new partner. A standard specification would significantly reduce the cost for many companies in our industry to connect to more partners and grow the industry.”

OCTO does not provide an API, channel manager or connectivity infrastructure or services, nor does it charge for any services. The specification and documentation are freely available on the OCTO website.

OCTO is also seeking representatives from tour and activity operators and visitor attractions to join and participate on the Operator Advisory Committee and working groups, to ensure that operators have direct input on the direction of the specification.

The first meeting of OCTO members will be held on 10 October from 12:30-2:30pm at Paris Hotel in Las Vegas at the Arival Las Vegas conference. Non-members may attend and observe for a US$50 donation at the door which can be applied to a future membership.

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