If you're in the business of tours and experiences, then you know that keeping up with the latest trends is essential to success.

This year's Arival 360 conference was packed full of insights on how to take your business to the next level. From tips on improving your customer experience to learning about the latest travel trends, there was something for everyone.

If you missed out on this year's conference, don't worry! We've got you covered. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Arival 360 2022.

Arival: a company on a mission

Arival is the go-to source for information and leading edge insight on in-destination experiences. The best part is that it connects and informs attractions through its events and insights, as well as its community of individuals and companies.

Arival 360, Arival 360 Las Vegas, Arival 360 San Diego, Arival San Diego
Arival 360, Arival 360 Las Vegas, Arival 360 San Diego, Arival San Diego

Arival 360 events are one of the best networking opportunities in the tourism community. You also get to meet the top OTAs, leading online reservation system providers, marketing experts and more.

Arival's mission is to advance the business of creating amazing in-destination experiences. CEO Douglas Quinby's goals for the company are to produce events, research, and insights specifically tailored toward creators, industry peers, and sellers in the tours, activities, attractions, events, and experiences industry.

Essentially, the company believes that attraction is the ‘why’ of travel. So, their practical educational sessions focus on educating operators in the tourism world and consumer trends as well as conducting research to help them understand what’s happening and grow the market.

The Future of Travel: New digital marketing & traveler trends

With uncertainty and upheaval in the marketplace, attractions must stay ahead of changes. The past two years have been volatile with key shifts happening at an accelerated pace that will likely continue into 2022 as visitors return en masse. This means operators must also be prepared for anything but a certainty if they want to drive their business forward.

Arival 360 delivered lots of learnings on how to make stuff just work, in both digital and distribution trends. It also delves into the new traveler trends and latest happenings that were impacted due to the pandemic.

Here are the top insights we can get from the Arival 360 Las Vegas 2022 Conference.

COVID speeds up digital trends

In the past, booking a holiday was a process that involved visiting a travel agent, browsing through brochures, and making a decision based on limited information.

Today, however, customers are far more likely to research their options online before making a purchase. As a result, most tour operators have had to adapt their business models to cater to this new reality.

connect travellers online booking, networking lounge
connect travellers online booking, networking lounge

There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our lives. One of the most significant changes has been the way we use technology. 

Most tour operators now offer online booking systems and downloadable apps, which makes it easier for customers to compare different options and make informed decisions.

In addition, customers can now read reviews and find out more information about a tour operator before committing. As a result of these changes, booking a holiday has become a much simpler and more efficient process.

QR Code booking as a contactless solution

One common trend is the use of QR codes as a contactless solution.

For instance, restaurants can put out a menu for our champagne bar with a QR code, which allows them to be more dynamic. This not only eliminates the need for paper menus but also allows customers to access the information quickly and easily.

QR code payment in local restaurants
QR code payment in local restaurants

Furthermore, QR codes provide an additional level of safety by reducing the amount of physical contact between staff and customers.

And museums can provide visitors with an interactive experience by using QR codes to trigger audio and video content. This not only enhances the visitor experience but also helps to reduce queues and missed opportunities for engagement. 

The rise of online bookings

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the travel industry, with many people opting to stay home rather than risk exposure to the virus. However, one silver lining of the pandemic has been the rise of online bookings, as more and more people are turning to the internet for travel planning.

With online booking websites, travelers can compare prices, read reviews, and find the perfect hotel or vacation rental for their needs. They can also book flights, rental cars, and activities all in one place. And best of all, they can do it all from the comfort of their own home!

online booking to tours and activities

While online booking may not be new, it's become increasingly popular in recent months as a way to manage crowds and provide better customer service.

For most tour operators, online booking offers several benefits. Perhaps most importantly, it allows customers a great way of travel planning, which can help to reduce foot traffic and avoid overcrowding.

Online booking also makes it easier to offer contactless payment options and track customer data, both of which can help to improve the overall customer experience. In a challenging time in destination industry, online booking is one bright spot that is here to stay.

Guest expectations are changing

Younger travelers are now expecting tour and activity operators to do things online, in advance, and to provide more options for leisure time activities. This shift is due in part to the importance of having shared experiences with friends and family, but also because guests want to be entertained in new and fun ways.

Imagine being able to take a tour of your favorite city without ever having to leave your home. Thanks to advances in technology, this is now possible with virtual tours.

more travellers prefer virtual tour

Virtual tours are a great way to explore new places and learn about different cultures without having to travel. They also provide an opportunity for people who are unable to travel due to health or financial reasons. Not only are virtual tours more convenient and accessible, but they can also be more engaging than traditional tours, especially for younger travelers.

With a virtual tour, you can choose your own pace, follow your interests, and even interact with the guide directly. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about getting lost.

Augmented reality is also another example of how technology can be used to create unique experiences for guests. By using AR, operators can provide visitors with an immersive experience that is both entertaining and educational.

Other examples of new technologies that are being used to enhance visitor experiences include virtual reality, 360-degree video, and drone footage.

As the world continues to change, tour and activity operators need to keep up with the latest trends to provide their guests with the best possible experience.

SEO is still king

Even in a post-pandemic world, SEO is still king when it comes to tourism. Why?

People are always looking for new places to travel and explore, and the internet is the best way to find information about potential destinations. That's where search engine optimization comes in.

optimizing SEO in your websites

By optimizing your website for specific keywords, you can make sure that your site appears at the top of the search results when people are looking for information about travel and tourism. In other words, SEO is the key to getting your website seen by potential customers.

And in a post-pandemic world, that is more important than ever. Customers will be looking for safe, reliable travel information, and if your website is optimized for SEO, you will be able to provide them with the information they need.

Make sure that the content on your site is unique

Producing great content is essential if you want your travel website to stand out from the crowd. But what exactly is ‘great content’?

In the travel industry, it needs to be focused, fresh and engaging. Product descriptions, highlights, inclusions, and exclusions are all helpful information that need to be communicated clearly and concisely.

And of course, it’s important to remember that your content needs to be tailored to your target audience.

Are you selling to local or international customers? What kind of questions are they likely to have in check in for example? Answering these questions will help you produce content that is truly useful and relevant to your readers.

New strategies in pricing are changing

In today's economy, price is everything. Consumers are always looking for the best deal, and businesses have to be able to meet that demand. As a result, dynamic pricing has become a popular pricing strategy.

This strategy involves setting prices based on real-time market conditions, taking into account factors such as supply and demand. By doing so, businesses can optimize their prices to maximize profits.

One big takeaway in the live conference was that industry experts discussed how this pricing strategy can be used to benefit both businesses and consumers. For businesses, dynamic pricing allows them to better adjust to fluctuating market conditions. For consumers, it means that they can get the best price for their experience. In today's competitive marketplace, dynamic pricing is a trend that is here to stay.

The importance of online presence

The conference stated that 85% of global consumers look at reviews and pictures to decide which brand/retailer to buy from. Because of that, having an online presence and creating a great user experience is more important than ever.

being active on social media
being active on social media

The experts stressed the importance of having an engaging website, being active on social media, and offering pre arrival tips and personalized customer service. This can help to create a positive brand image and boost customer loyalty.

Additionally, they discussed how businesses can use data analytics to better understand their customers and tailor their best experience accordingly. By doing this, businesses can ensure that they are offering the best possible service.

More package options and special offers for travel

The attractions sector is facing an interesting challenge - how to provide the premium experiences that travelers crave.

In the past, travelers were content to simply visit an attraction and take in the sights. Now, however, they want to have a truly unique and memorable experience. This is putting pressure on attractions to up their game and provide something special.

add premium travel experience

One way to provide a premium experience is by offering exclusive access to VIP areas. This could include a private tour of the attraction, access to restricted areas, or preferential treatment when it comes to bookings and queues.

Another way to provide a premium experience is by offering bespoke packages that are tailored to the individual traveler. This could include special events, private guides, or unique itineraries. Whatever the approach, it's clear that the demand for premium experiences is on the rise - and attractions need to step up to meet it.

Utilizing Google Things to do (TTD)

With Google TTD new feature, you will be able to update your pricing directly in your Google Business profile. This will help you to make sure that your pricing information is up-to-date and accurate. Additionally, customers will be able to book directly from the listing on mobile devices. This can be a great way to drive more sales and conversions.

By using Google TTD, businesses can also track customer bookings in real time and monitor performance trends.

Positive reviews and its big impact

Google's confirmation that positive reviews improve ranking in the new experiences module should come as no surprise to businesses who have been paying attention.

Google has always placed high importance on reviews, and this is just one more way that they are using them to help determine rankings. For example, travelers look for great experience the moment they check in. With that said, businesses should not only be focused on getting more reviews, but also on ensuring that those reviews are positive.

customer reviews

After all, it is the quality of the reviews that matters. A few bad reviews can offset a large number of good ones, so it is important to monitor feedback and encourage customers to leave honest feedback. Google's confirmation is just one more reason to pay attention to your online reputation.

Read our detailed blog on why you can't afford to ignore customer reviews anymore.

Catch up on the latest trends in Arival 360

Arival 360 is a great source of information for those in the travel & tourism sector. With their expert insights and advice, you can take your tours and experiences business to the next level. Make sure to check out their upcoming conferences and events so that you can stay up-to-date on the latest trends and insights.

By leveraging the knowledge and insights provided by Arival 360, you can ensure that your business is in line with the industry's latest trends. And the best part of it all, this will help to make sure that your tours and experiences are memorable for customers, helping to drive more sales and grow your business.

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