Travel TrendsTo avoid missing out on popular attractions, more travellers are booking online to secure tickets further in advance.

The new FOMO driving tours, activities and attractions

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Travellers prefer purchasing tickets in advance to avoid issues of not being able to get tickets for popular attractions on the day of visit.
Travellers prefer purchasing tickets in advance to avoid issues of not being able to get tickets for popular attractions on the day of visit. Photo Credit: NTT Data

Queuing to book tours, attractions and activities is fast becoming a thing of the past. By now, many players in the tours, attractions and activities sector have integrated at least one technological element into its booking process to better serve the needs of the growing market of digitally savvy consumers.

Adding a digital component for bookings, while still retaining the physical brick-and-mortar ticketing office for walk-ins, will no doubt drive more revenue as it offers more ways of booking to suit different consumers. But questions remain on what exactly consumers want out of these new digital capabilities, and what underlying factors are driving this change in mindset.

NTT DATA, the world’s sixth-largest IT company, conducted the ‘Are you experienced?’ study in collaboration with Globick, to analyse how the consumer behaviour has changed as the tours, attractions and activities sector steps into the digital age.

The number of consumers who leave their purchase decision to the last minute has dropped dramatically, from 38% in 2019 to 14% in 2021. At least 46% of travellers now typically like to make their bookings a week or more in advance.

Majority of travellers prefer booking tickets from three to seven days ahead.
Majority of travellers prefer booking tickets from three to seven days ahead. Photo Credit: NTT Data

This is largely due to travellers’ anxiety of not being able to get tickets for popular tours or attractions, especially with flight quotas and capacity restrictions still put in place due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation across the world, either imposed by the destination’s authorities or independent operators.

According to research firm Arival, 53% of attractions in North America require advanced online booking, while in Europe that number stands at 47%, and 31% in Asia. As a result of this requirement, the use of digital booking channels has increased exponentially, with 47% of tickets being booked online in 2021, compared to just 28% in 2019.

Meanwhile, physical ticketing office, hotel front desk and concierge, or over the phone drop from 64% of sales in 2019 to 40% in 2021.

Travel companies that want to take advantage of these changes in consumer behaviour can position themselves as a one-stop digital shop for searching, booking, and getting real-time confirmation of various in-destination products.

“The in-destination activities sector—the third largest in tourism—must become a central feature in the offers of online and offline travel agencies and can also be made up of accommodation providers and transportation operators," said Xavier Boixeda, CEO of Globick.

"It’s a growing market amid a highly-significant digitalisation process, which is at a key time in which those handling it as a central product and not as a travel accessory, can gain great value with high returns.”

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