For as long as there have been sights and sounds, there have been far-away strangers and adventuring in-towners wanting to come see them. And of course, where there are customers wanting an experience, there are owners and operators ready to help them have it.

But for more than a decade, Shaun and Joe have been helping tourism owners revolutionize their businesses, bringing in more revenue, and reaching wider audiences. Among their most notable list of accomplishments:

  • They’ve built over 200 international tourism websites
  • Helped over 20 tours see an average increase of 42% in revenue
  • Created guidebooks that captured almost 80% more emails
  • Aided a client in reaching an astronomical 11% conversion rate on their corporate group page
  • Helped another client achieve a nearly 90% open rates on emails
  • Tested out buy ticket buttons, increasing conversions 25%
  • Shared from the stage at TedX

But they don’t just have a long list of accolades. No, after so long in the industry – they have something else too. They have hunches. Really, really, solid hunches about the future of tourism.

So we asked them what their three biggest predictions were for the industry. And this is what they said.

A change in reservation systems: Reservation systems will start to take private tour revenue more seriously. They’ll update their systems to allow for smaller percentages of large groups while still processing the revenue through their system. If they don’t, they leave a gaping opportunity for new rez tech to enter the space and focus on private tour revenue.

Revenue will increase: Revenue from corporate experiences will increase by 40% — we’ve been talking about this for almost 2 years now and others in the industry are starting to catch on and also helping tours shift to corporate.

The rise of Digital Guidebooks: Digital Guidebooks will become an industry norm. The ability to capture email addresses, offer upsells, and get digital tips for tour guides can’t be ignored. There will be a huge spike in the number of tours offering digital guidebooks.

(BONUS FROM JOE) Email marketing will take its place (finally): Tours will start to invest more in email marketing (like Active Campaign) instead of search engines. They’ll notice there is a lower cost of acquisition when using their own customer base to advertise to instead of trying to compete in search engines against OTAs who continue to raise more money to invest in placing above tour operators in rankings.

AI that helps self-paced guests: I can already see the growing interest in AI-powered itineraries that put guests in control of their own tours. I think that’s going to be a huge selling point: experiences that can give the guest the freedom of designing their own tour at their own pace. These tour company-sponsored self-guided tours could potentially offer exclusive reservation slots, engaging videos, and interactive games as guests explore each location – and that’s just for starters. Sky’s the limit.

The role of tour operators shifts: I think we’re going to see a gradual but steady transformation of tour operators growing more into experience coordinators. This coincides with the point above, but I think this shift in roles is will make tours less reliant on owners, guided more at the discretion of the guests, and see owners aim to showcase their local area with less stress and reliance on tourist seasons. As a result, I think owners will get to introduce a higher-priced, more fulfilling adventure with increased profit margins.

Diversifying the offerings: Used to be that a tour guide would offer their tour, and an exit through the gift shop, and that was it. But now, tour operators are shifting away from reservation systems and embracing e-commerce options as they adapt their business models. Which means a wider view of their jobs than merely tour guides and trinket peddlers. Now, owners and operators can focus on offering exclusive private experiences and selling a wide range of products and offerings.

The Future of Tourism is Bright

There you have it, 6+1 predictions about the future of tourism from two of its most celebrated entrepreneurs and leaders. Anything catch your eye? Of course we’ve always known that the future of tourism would be bright – technology and travel have only become more diverse, simple, comfortable, and experiential as time has gone on.

But what Joe and Shaun really capture with their work, as well as their above predictions, is a sense of where the future of tourism is going – and how owners and operators can begin to make changes ahead of their industry.

Register now for the next Town Hall

If you couldn’t make our Town Hall, never fear: we’ll be back. Learn how to win more corporate groups in our 60-minute, interactive Zoom meetings. You will meet other tour operators, discover new business ideas, and learn how to grow corporate tour revenue.


This year we will continue to explore new strategies to grow your corporate and private tour business.

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