Multi-Day Tour Operators 2021: Reshaping Supply Chains and Distribution

by Seth Borko + Skift Team - Oct 2021

Skift Research Take

Anyone seeking to understand leisure travel overlooks tour operators at their own risk. It is one of the last great offline sectors in the travel industry but that cannot last. Changing consumer behavior and new tech is driving disruption in these businesses, the effects of which have only been compounded by the significant impact of COVID-19.

Report Overview

Perhaps no sector has been as badly hit by the pandemic as tour operators, given their intrinsic connection to cross-border travel as well as  human interaction. Based on our research and discussions with over a dozen executives we see an industry on the precipice of major changes. 

This report will focus on the global multi-day tour operator sector with a heavy emphasis on itinerary-based guided tours. We will also briefly touch upon packaged tour sales. Multi-day tours are one of the last truly offline spaces of the travel industry. But that isolation cannot last. This report will cover the structure of this complex and fragmented industry. We see an ecommerce revolution occurring in the next five years that will reshape the way the industry supplies and distributes its products. 

We will also discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the industry and how we see the types of tours offered, and the operators themselves, evolving as a result.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • How the complex supply chain of the multi-day tour industry works and the different kinds of businesses and tours that exist within it.
  • How digitalization is disrupting the industry and where the biggest new opportunities exists
  • How tour operators have responded to the pandemic
  • What we think the new multi-day tour landscape will look like as COVID-19 fades

Executives Interviewed

  • Matt Berna, Managing Director, North America for Intrepid Travel
  • Murray Decker, Chief Executive Officer of Tour Amigo
  • Gavin Delaney, CEO and Co-Founder of TravelStride
  • Tom Hale, Founder and President of Backroads
  • Travis Pittman, CEO and Co-Founder of TourRadar
  • Catherine Prather, President of the National Tour Association
  • Massimo Prioreschi, CEO of MT Sobek
  • James Thornton, Chief Executive Officer of Intrepid Travel
  • Gavin Tollman, President of The Travel Corporation
  • Enrique Velasco Jr., Chief Commercial Officer of Coltur Peru
  • With special thanks to Jared Alster and Tom Buckley, Co-Founders of Dune7 for their background contributions to this report