Group travel marketplace TourRadar has increased its bookable multi-day tour inventory by five times — to 20,000.

The Vienna-based startup claims that no other company makes as many multi-day tours bookable within a consumer platform in a method similar to consumer marketplace Viator has long done with single-day.

Stepping up with a step-change

Founded in 2010, TourRadar is best known for its consumer-facing web and mobile booking service whose inventory is supplied by more than 250 multi­-day tour operators globally.

Until recently, all of its trips were “on-request”, where the traveler submits an email enquiry to the tour operators and then has to go back-and-forth directly to complete a booking, including payment either by wire transfer or via PayPal or credit card.

In November 2013, TourRadar launched its booking engine and began acting as an agent for operators like Intrepid and G Adventures.

That meant that, as of last winter, 4,000 tours were bookable over its platform in the same manner as, say, Viator.

Two weeks ago, it added 16,000 tours bookable. It did this via a similar model to how Airbnb does it for accommodation… TourRadar acts as the “trusted platform” between the tour operators and the consumers.

In other words, TourRadar manages the credit card hand-over, as an option for tour operators. It will hold their money until the tour has departed before it pays the tour operator.

It claims that its just-installed payment and messaging platform, which connects small and medium tour 
operators with travelers, has increased sales of “up to 350%” among its beta testing tour operators.

Expanding ambition

Travis Pittman, TourRadar’s CEO, told Tnooz that his company’s next goal is to vet and work through its waiting list of 300 operators. He adds that the company is accepting new operator applications. We interviewed Pittman about his overall news:

TourRadar has focused on the multi-day category. Are planning to get into single-day?

Single day tours? No plans. Viator and GYG can continue battling out in that space.

I’m seeing many single-day tours on TourRadar, such as this afternoon tour of Barcelona. Is that new?

We have listed a small amount of day tour products since we began, but that is totally not our focus, many of our partners who provide multi-day product, usually have day tours too.

The multi-day category is less popular with investors and acquirers right now in comparison with single-day tours-and-activities. Witness the recent TripAdvisor acquisition of single-day tour seller Viator for $200 million and the huge investment rounds in GetYourGuide. Why bother with a niche in a niche?

I would hardly call it a niche of a niche….

Multi-day tours typically have a ticket value of $2,000. The growth in this sector (particularly in adventure travel, which has seen a 65%-a-year growth rate since 2008 or so), as well as the high basket sizes makes it a niche we strongly believe in.

But single day is where it’s going to be at for a while, right?

Whilst the previous/current investor activity has been around single day, mainstream style products – we know the size and market opportunity of the multi-day sector is one worth pursuing. We want TourRadar to be the platform that proves this is a valid market by leading from the front.

Technology provider to tour companies

TourRadar says that tour operators can provide their trip details, departure dates and prices via the a few integration methods, such as in real-time via reservation platforms such as TourCMS, read XML or read/write API, or its extranet.

MEANWHILE, ELSEWHERE IN TOURS AND ACTIVITIES: Sydney-based Rezdy, a global tour operator software provider, said last week that it is building partnerships with online distribution channels in an effort to connect their customers to more online opportunities.

EARLIER: Auf wiedersehen, GetYourGuide – TripAdvisor starts trimming suppliers of tours and activities

Original author: Sean O’Neill