bookingkit analysis: Pandemic causes accelerated digitalization in Tours, Activities & Attractions (TAA) market, new offers and more convenience for end customers

 Frank Scheibe

Berlin, February 1, 2021 – Rapidly accelerating digitization, many new online bookable offers, significantly more flexible cancellation terms and a strong focus on the last 48 hours before the scheduled event – these are the key trends and forecasts of an extensive internal bookingkit analysis of thousands of suppliers over the past nine months. Europe’s leading SaaS solution for the TAA sector thus sees significant opportunities for innovation across the industry in 2021. It is undeniable that the lack of bookings due to the lockdowns negatively impacted revenues in 2020. At the same time, however, companies which were already digitally equipped were able to benefit both from the catch-up effects following the re-openings as well as  from the partially-forced digitization of the booking processes. 

The most important trend from the end customer’s point of view is a major shift in the way cancellations are handled: «Whereas before COVID19 only about ten percent of companies offered a fairly customer-friendly cancellation process and correspondingly accommodating terms, the figure is now at almost 100 percent,» says Lukas C. C. Hempel, founder and CEO of bookingkit. The company expects that this convenience for end customers will not completely regress, but instead sees a lasting need to counteract the processing costs of these «negative bookings» through the use of a digital online booking system. In addition, suppliers will have to adapt to thinking much more short-term, especially keeping an eye on the last 48 hours before an event is set to take place. «This makes customer communication even more important, and its automation even more urgent,» Hempel adds.

In light of the restrictions that are still expected throughout 2021, for example on the maximum capacity allowed for attractions, real-time information about available slots will play an even more decisive role than before, as does the certainty of using the attraction on site. Spontaneous offline bookings at the entrance to an attraction, which comprised about 80 percent of bookings in 2019, will continue to occur, but at a much lower level, Hempel explains. Accordingly, COVID19, new behavioral patterns, positive experiences on the end customer side and regulatory requirements for suppliers have already sharpened the strategic arguments for the use of digital booking solutions in 2020.

In addition, the large number of offers that can be booked online for the first time is particularly striking, especially for medium-sized and larger operators of attractions, such as zoos, swimming pools or museums. This is because they have implemented new requirements such as capacity management, audience flow regulation, contact tracking, contactless ticket validation and time slot tickets in record time in order to reopen as quickly as possible. «None of these vendors will fall back to 100 percent offline sales in the future, because these features also make sense in the long term,» Hempel added.

Frank Scheibe
Frank is a tours and activities industry expert. He reports on the latest facts, figures and trends in the bookingkit blog and the bookingkit newsletter. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his kids and family, playing sports and eating good food.

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