Hotelbeds Group has co-launched an attraction-booking app that earns agents commission and “drives loyalty”.
The formerly Tui-owned bed bank has the Transfer and Activity Bank (TAB) division, which has partnered with tech start-up What Now Travel.
The app is essentially an in-destination planning tool, although bookings can be made in advance, it allows users to view maps, search for and book restaurants and attractions in one place. It can also be used when data roaming is switched off, using GPS instead.
Hotelbeds wants the properties in its network to be able to offer guests the app, but it is also being promoted to agents, operators and airlines.
Customers will need to download it, but the What Now?! app will track where the referral has come from and agents will be paid commission accordingly.
The service is initially being launched in London, but there is a “roadmap for expansion” in place, to other major cities internationally.
Hotelbeds will use activities already in its portfolio for the “things-to-do” section.
Tui officially sold Hotelbeds – which last year turned over €4.28 billion in sales – in a €1.19 billion deal to two investment firms this month, although TAB managing director Paul Anthony said this new partnership was in the making independently of the sale.
He said: “We see a need in the Hotelbeds group to provide the travel industry the right set of capabilities to earn meaningful revenues in the world of transfers, tours and activities, through smartphone technology.
“The opportunity is huge but the travel world is not capturing it.”
Anthony insisted that the proposition will remain a B2B one from Hotelbeds’ perspective as it “is not in the B2C space”, and said the app functionality sets it apart from other trade attraction ticket sellers such as Attraction World.
“This bridges a gap between planning and booking,” he said.
Along with electronic ticket redemption, which will allow users to make same-day bookings without the need for paper tickets, the partnership will enable the purchase of seven-day flexi attraction tickets through connections to Hotelbeds Group’s portfolio of more than 11,000 activities.