TripAdvisor Buys Bokun, Starts Tour Tech Price War

There’s a technology and aggregation arms race on in the tours and activities sector. First to fire a shot was Booking Holdings, which announced the purchase FareHarbor last Thursday. Following day, TripAdvisor said it’s buying Bokun which, like FareHarbor, also provides booking, admin and distribution technology to tours and activities operators.

“As the industry leader, our opportunity in this space is enormous. We’re committed to taking the experiences sector far beyond its current online penetration of just 20%, and Bokun will play a critical role in this mission,” said Dermot Halpin, president, TripAdvisor Experiences and Rentals.

Halpin said TripAdvisor would slash pricing for Bokun’s product, moving from a monthly fee of 100 Euro in “a near-term move to a fraction of a percent per booking”, well under the industry standard of a 5%-6% booking commission.

“This marks a new phase for our business: we’re expanding beyond our core offering as the industry’s largest distribution channel (through Viator). This product is part of a very bright future for the industry – one that eliminates fragmentation, significantly grows and simplifies distribution for suppliers, and dramatically improves the shopping experience for travellers.”

Bokun will remain based in its home market of Iceland and there are immediate plans to staff up.

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