How has been the journey of Viator till now?
Barrie Seidenberg : Viator was founded in Sydney, Australia in 1995 as a B2B technology company. Fast-forward nearly 20 years and Viator has evolved into the leading insider resource for travelers to discover and book the best tours and activities all over the world. Our regional teams of travel experts have worked hard to connect the worlds’ travelers with the best local tour operators, most popular attractions and hand-selected activities, and the most qualified private guides in more than 1,500 destinations.
Travel And Tour World – What is the story behind the success of Viator?
Barrie Seidenberg : I think one of the most important contributors to Viator’s success has been our unwavering dedication to the tours and activities sector. This dedication has allowed us to develop very close and long-term relationships with our supplier partners all over the world which in turn adds value to our customers through exclusive experiences, exclusive pricing and a special level of customer service in-destination. While we are helping travelers discover activities they didn’t even know they could do (like after-hours tours at the Vatican or early access at the Empire State Building), we are also able to drive enhanced distribution for our supplier partners through multiple dedicated channels including Viator.com, the Viator Tours & Activities App (iOS and Android) and a selection of local-language web and mobile sites. In addition to that, we are able to provide our global roster of more than 3,000 affiliates with a turn-key white label solution for activities that helps them diversify their revenue and increase their customer’s loyalty to their brand.
Travel And Tour World – What is the motto of Viator?
Barrie Seidenberg : At Viator, we want every traveler to feel like they’re traveling with an insider. That’s why we work so hard to provide access to the best activities all over the world, each hand-selected and vetted for quality, service and value.
Travel And Tour World – Mobile apps play an important role in the travel sector. How Viator and its apps have contributed to the development of the travel technology sector?
Barrie Seidenberg : The Viator Tours & Activities App (iOS and Android) is very popular with over 1 million downloads and counting. Mobile is a huge priority for Viator – we have the apps, as well as fully optimized mobile websites in English, Japanese, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.
Mobile bookings in the tours and activities sector are growing but still remain a somewhat small percentage of overall sales according to recent PhoCusWright research. But Viator’s tablet and smartphone sales are already strong and are continuing to grow.
One of the reasons it is so important to get mobile right is the preference of some travelers to book their activities at the last minute. With our app, and our websites, we are striving to de-fragment the highly fragmented tours and activities space by making it possible for travelers to discover, and book, the coolest things to do in their destination – with only hours to spare. And to do that, we’re working with our supplier partners, helping usher them into the mobile-age with upgraded connectivity and access.
Travel And Tour World – Where do you see the future of Viator in coming years?
Barrie Seidenberg : The goal for Viator is to be the brand that all travelers think of when it comes time to plan and book the things they want to see, do and experience on holiday – whether they’re planning online in advance at home, or on mobile at the last minute in their destination.
That’s a real game-changer. We are making mobile in-destination booking easier, better and faster than any other method. Gone are the old-fashioned traditions of relying on a hotel concierge for access or the brochures in the lobby for local tour information. There’s also no need to wander around Fisherman’s Wharf, Times Square or Vatican City trying to figure out what to do on your own. We are empowering travelers with information, access and technology allowing them to plan and book amazing destination experiences every time they travel.
Travel And Tour World – Which part of the world sees more users of your app and why?
Barrie Seidenberg : Markets that see strong adoption of the Viator Tours & Activities app very closely mimic the customer demographics we see on Viator.com. Travelers in regions across North America, the UK and Australia for example are quickly adopting our app as they’re already keenly aware of the benefits provided by the website.
Travel And Tour World – How does the app work? What makes your app stand apart from your peers?
Barrie Seidenberg : The Viator Tours & Activities App (free on iOS and Android) is the most comprehensive app available for locating and booking the best tours and activities in your destination. The app makes it easier than ever for on-the-go travelers to discover and book their tours and activities, whether in advance of their trip, or at the last minute in their destination.
The applets travelers select a destination nearby on an interactive map, or choose from over 1,000 destinations worldwide and find the top things to do from among a hand-selected collection of thousands of the best things to do. Users are able to browse top-rated tours, activities and attractions and filter by the categories they’re interested in. Users can also research more than 500,000 verified traveler reviews, browse photos and watch exclusive Viator insider videos. Once they’ve made their selection, travelers can book instantly in the app, and store their paperless vouchers on their phone or send it to Passbook.
Travel And Tour World – On a not-so-serious note, if given a chance which destination would you like to travel?
Barrie Seidenberg : As you would imagine I love to travel. I am always in the process of planning a trip, whether for work or with my family. For our family travel we often seek out destinations known for their sailing and beautiful waterways like the British Virgin Islands, the coast of Turkey and Alaska’s Inland Passage. But I also really enjoy and always want to return to the iconic cities of Europe like London, Paris and Rome. A recent trip highlight for me was Viator’s VIP tour of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican’s secret rooms which is exclusive to Viator and provides travelers with an insider experience they won’t find anywhere else.