In a second firm signal in as many days that the online tours and activities sector is about to be transformed, Gray Line has announced a partnership with TourCMS.
The deal makes product from Gray Line, which is arguably the largest operator of tours in the world, available to book in real-time via a single connection.
Gray Line runs a franchise-like organisation to bring in content for more than 700 destinations worldwide.
The partnership, which has been some months in the making, means consumers as well as travel companies can access live pricing, inventory and images from all of the Gray Line local tour producers.
The deal in part echoes Expedia’s announcement yesterday¬†of its strategy to provide tours and activities providers with technology to distribute and market their content.
The tours and activities sector has been considered one of the last untapped segments of the online industry because of the lack of real-time connectivity.
A PhoCusWright study last year estimated $27 billion in gross bookings in the US alone.
The Gray Line Connect technology is said to address the issue by making the company’s inventory of 4,000 tours and activities available to book and distribute online.
Gray Line boss Brad Weber says the partnership eliminates advance purchase requirements while opening up the tours sector to mobile booking and last-seat availability.
TourCMS boss Alex Bainbridge reckons the deal is a “game-changer” for the sector, bringing it in line with other parts of the industry such as hotels which have had similar distribution capability for many years.
NB:¬†Disclosure – Alex Bainbridge of TourCMS writes regularly for Tnooz as a node.