Since 2007 we have been diligently working to make the tours and activities market better for everyone. For many years we have been encouraging the industry to pay more attention to tour and activity businesses and to open up distribution opportunities. In 2011 and 2013 for example, Rezgo was the only tour operator software that sponsored industry research by PhoCusWright. So when it comes to trends and best practices for tours and activities, we have a proven track record of putting our money and efforts behind our words. 2014 was a year of pivotal change for the sector that included two major events that will impact every tour and activity operator. These two events, which have been anticipating for some time, will bring about a change that will result in more distribution opportunities for businesses as well as increased incremental revenues.
The first major change in the sector is the acquisition of Viator by TripAdvisor. The acquisition is a huge boost for tours and activities because it shows that the market is ready for prime time. Having a major brand like TripAdvisor making an investment like this in tours and activities should signal to you, as a business, that the industry is watching. Are you ready?
As you may or may not be aware, Viator is the leading marketplace for tours and activities Worldwide and has been around for almost twenty years. Up until very recently, Viator was a curated marketplace, meaning that they only worked with select businesses in each destination. As result of the purchase by TripAdvisor, Viator has made the change to an open marketplace, which means that every tour and activity business can sign-up to be resold through the Viator and TripAdvisor websites. The most important aspect of this purchase is that every tour, activity, and excursion listing on the TripAdvisor website can now have a "Book Now" button. This feature however requires that the business be available for sale through the Viator marketplace. If your business does not have a TripAdvisor listing yet, you should plan on setting one up as soon as possible.
The second major change in the sector is a technological one. In early 2012 Rezgo, along with some other leading reservation systems, began working with Viator as an Alpha partner in the development of what is commonly referred to as a direct connect API. After almost two years of research, design, and development, that API was released in 2014. For businesses, the Viator API means that when customers make bookings on the Viator marketplace, Viator can check live availability and push live bookings directly into the operator's Rezgo account. When you combine these live availability and booking capabilities with the fact that Viator is now an open marketplace, the true impact of these two events can be seen.
We are proud of the relationship we have developed with the people at Viator over the years and will continue to work hard to find ways to increase revenues and drive efficiencies for our mutual business partners. The Rezgo 6 platform, which was launched in October, is one such example of the work our team continues to do to help improve the experience for all Rezgo customers.
In the coming months, we expect to see some of the other major marketplaces such as GetYourGuide, Orbitz, Excursiopedia, and others to follow the lead of Viator & TripAdvisor and release their own live availability APIs. When that happens, you can rest assured that we will be among the first to integrate them.
As we march on into our 8th year of business, we hope to continue making a positive and constructive impact on the industry that we love. We thank you for being a part of that journey and hope you will continue to be a part of it as we help lead the way, starting with a smile.