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Royal Caribbean Cruises is the latest large company to launch a tour booking site. GoBe doesnâ€™t just target cruisers. The site aims at land-based travel. Booking experiences for travelers is big business.
GoBe, from Royal Caribbean, offers tours in popular U.S. Cities, such as New York.
Booking tours is big business. Royal Caribbean Cruises, which has long made money by offering its passengers shore tours, recently launched GoBe. What’s unusual is that the site isn’t just for cruisers. In an interview with Skift, GoBe’s managing director Billy Campbell said “Ninety-six percent of world travel is going to be not on a cruise ship, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
At launch, GoBe offers “more than 1,000 travel experiences in hundreds of cities,” according to the company’s website. Most, but not all, are in cruise-heavy destinations such as the Caribbean and Bermuda as well as European ports. However, users can also book walking tours in Macedonia; in Orad, Romania; and in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Although GoBe offers many tours in such popular U.S. cruise ports as Miami, San Francisco and New York City, some of the highest number of tours offered are in the non-cruise ports of Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C.
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Like most tour booking sites, GoBe promises to connect users with local guides who provide authentic experiences that “head off the beaten path.” To make booking easy, GoBe lists its tours by destination and also by interests, grouping activities into “Family,” “Culinary,” “Romance” and “Adventure.” GoBe is still figuring out how to enable real-time reservations.
GoBe is the latest major launch of a site dedicated to booking tours and activities. Last week, Marriott International announced its investment in PlacePass, a site that offers more than 100,000 experiences in 800 destinations. Marriott intends to enable the 100 million members of its three loyalty programs — Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriot Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards — to access PlacePass’s experiences.
More Sites Booking Experiences
· Airbnb launched Trips, a way to book tours and activities in a destination, in November 2016.
· TripAdvisor acquired Viator in 2014 to add tours and activities to its booking site.
· Google, Expedia and Booking.com have all added the ability to book tours and activities.
What does this mean for you? Reserving tours and activities on a site that showcases the options in a clear format makes choosing and booking easy. That likely translates into more reservations and money for the site and the guide. But does that correlate with better experiences for people? Maybe, and maybe not. As always, let the buyer beware.
Discover Dentist’s Money Digest® lifestyle coverage here. Follow Candyce H. Stapen on Twitter: @FamilyiTrips