It has been estimated that the global tours and activities market may be worth approximately $150 billion annually and is marked as a major growth area for the future.
With this being the case many businesses in the leisure and tourism sector are looking at expanding their offerings to capture this growing market. Whether it is walking holidays, cycle holidays, wine tasting breaks, garden breaks, cookery holidays or spa breaks the possibilities for diversification are endless. In this article Kathryn Heath, senior associate in the IP & IT team explores some of the considerations for those looking to tap into the tours and experiences market for the first time.
Adding to your existing offering and moving outside your comfort zone can be risky but the benefits can really pay off. Below are some issues to consider before embarking on offering a new service:
The Package Regulations
The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangement Regulations 2018 which came into force last year brought many of those offering experiences and activities within the scope of package holidays for the first time. This means the organiser of the holiday is liable for the performance of the travel services included in the package (even if the services were performed by a third party
and not the organiser) if something went wrong, travellers receive protection against the insolvency of the organisers of the package and travel organisers are required to provide certain detailed
information to travellers.
The Regulations contain criminal offences for failure to comply so it is important to check whether adding a new service could bring you within the definition of a Linked Travel Arrangement or
Package Holiday under the Regulations. Beware the Regulations catch more than traditional “package holidays” and simply adding cookery classes to your accommodation offering could bring you
within the Regulations.
Terms and Conditions
Ensure these are updated to cover your new services as if you are offering a service you haven’t previously provided then it is unlikely your existing terms will cover everything you need (for example health information may not be needed for your hotel bookings but may be required for certain activities and cancellation policies will also be different). If you fall within the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangement Regulations 2018 your terms and conditions need to contain certain provisions.
Contracts with third party suppliers
Know your suppliers and ensure they are trusted and will provide a top service to your guests – it’s your reputation on the line and you may be liable under the Package Travel and Linked Travel
Arrangement Regulations 2018 for their failures so always ensure you have written contacts in place with your third party suppliers which adequately protect you.
Check with your insurance company to ensure you are covered for the expansion of your services into new areas.
Consider whether your existing trade marks cover the new service offerings you are providing and whether new trade marks need to be registered to cover your new activities and any new trade marks submitted for any new logos or designs.
If you will be sharing personal data received from guests with third parties make sure you obtain valid consent to transfer their data if required and ensure you have compliant policies in place.
Whilst this may all seem daunting if you take the right approach and do your research first the possibilities are endless and rewards great. After all there must be a reason why Airbnb, which started life with its room only model, now offers more than 20,000 activities in 800 cities around the world through the “Experiences’’section on its website.