The power of performance data to improve the customer experience remains a driving force for GetYourGuide. In the case of the Iron Grinding Iron, Originals’ pioneering insights will level the playing field across the market as the private label format will be put on hold.
Enhanced customer experience has been the driving force behind Originals, GetYourGuide’s private label offering. News that it’s ending begs the question of why.
The online travel agency launched Originals in 2018 in partnership with local operators in popular destinations, informed by its “rich data on customer booking performance”.
These operators run private-label tours and offer benefits similar to Airbnb’s superhost concept. For example, GetYourGuide charged a higher commission for originals than other products on the platform and provided better listing visibility in search results.
“We’re not giving up on Originals,” said GetYourGuide co-founder and COO Tao Tao in response to the said change with Skift.
The experience economy is a hotbed of digital acceleration as travelers seek out once-in-a-lifetime opportunities more than ever. In a fragmented tour and activity sector, any differentiation that adds to the ease of booking is excellent for supplier conversion and retention, but even more so for travelers looking for a better customer experience.
TUI Musement CEO Peter Ulwahn recently outlined to Skift that building TUI’s collections is a key focus, while Airbnb recently announced it will bring back its experience offering, suspended during the pandemic.
So why the Originals hiatus?
Tao said the data insights that worked to leverage the originals will be used to improve the customer experience across the platform market.
The Originals tours have been successful on several fronts, he added, with data insights shaping tour length, customizing booking times and expanding brand visibility for a better customer experience.
“We’ve worked well with our suppliers to create better tour experiences, and we’ve seen the average rating of Originals tours go up a lot.”
These top ratings and reviews will remain visible to those tour operators who have maintained their Originals offering as they are still bookable on the site, just not in the standard Originals format.
The program in its current form is evolving, and these high-quality experiences stay the course, Tao added.
Tao confirmed that the “Discovery Assistant” feature, which is responsible for grouping similar searches, is being removed.
“Our mission is to make memorable experiences accessible to customers and to simplify digital revenue growth on the supplier side. Along the way, we’re constantly testing and adding things, as well as removing or retiring things that don’t work.”
The plan, he said, is to share what works in the form of a new previews feature launched on supplier portal GetYourGuide.
“It describes data and insights about what customers are saying about products and destinations and offers advice and tips for anyone in our market to create better experiences,” he said.
But what about quality differentiation?
“Curation has also been a driving force in ensuring that these experiences live up to expectations of being memorable,” Tao said.
As a result, the Collections feature uses human and artificial intelligence to bring this to the fore for GetYourGuide.
“Modern explorers want to maximize their journeys. They want to do essential and iconic attractions and also experience something different and unique,” he added.
Tao compares Collections’ merchandising methodology to streaming services or music apps. And it can certainly be seen as an evolved, more straightforward version of the discontinued Discovery Assistant.
But rather than a similar in a comparative format, Collections curates the iconic with the lesser known.
“When customers go to Paris, they want to visit the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, but they also want to taste wines and try things that are not familiar. The Collections concept simplifies the intent to do both with an offering of hidden gems,” said Tao.
What the evolution of the Originals brand will look like remains to be seen, as Tao said more will not be revealed until 2023.
In addition, GetYourGuide’s entire supply chain now appears to benefit from Originals’ pioneering insights through informed decisions based on destination data and opportunities to improve offerings.
While this speaks to the need to standardize tour and activity products that expand use and choice for travelers, it inadvertently levels the playing field in a competitive market.
Watch: GetYourGuide Co-Founder and COO Tao Tao Discusses Unique Vs. existing inventory with Skift CEO Rafat Ali at the Skift 2022 Global Forum.
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