TripAdvisor is doubling down on tours and activities. TripAdvisor CEO Steven Kaufer said Tuesday the company’s tours and activities offerings, which it recently rebranded as TripAdvisor Experiences, might turn out to be a business worth “up to a couple billion dollars.” It was only two years ago, at the same JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Communications conference that Kaufer addressed Tuesday, in which he termed attractions as “our next $1 billion business.” So Kaufer, speaking at the gathering in Boston, has doubled his estimate of the company’s footprint in the sector, adding that’s he’s “extremely bullish on that attractions space.” He said that the attractions business should have take rates of 15 to 20 percent, similar to the online hotel business, but the addressable market would be only around half that of hotels.

“So if you size Attractions compared to hotels, overall size might be half, but we’re the leader in that category,” Kaufer said. “So what can the margin should kind of look the same as hotels from an OTA [online travel agency] perspective.” When asked about the tours and activities competition, which includes Expedia,, Airbnb, GetYourGuide and Klook, among others, Kaufer said TripAdvisor, which acquired Viator in 2014, is far ahead of the pack.

“Yes, there are a number of players jumping into the Experiences game,” Kaufer said. “I’d say we have the clear, faraway lead in the category already.

If you look at the demand on TripAdvisor, the number of the 100-plus million attractions, shoppers every month, they’re planning the trip, they’re in-destination, they’re looking for a great thing to do and they’re already coming to TripAdvisor.” Competitors, of course, will have something to say about whether TripAdvisor will be able to maintain that so-called faraway lead. Booking Holdings just acquired FareHarbor, a supply integrator that’s a lot bigger than TripAdvisor’s new possession, Bokun.

Airbnb, too, with its increasingly global brand recognition, is making a push in the experiences sector. Kaufer acknowledged that these are still early days for bringing tours and activities online, saying the company only offers a “small percentage” of all the possible things to do at most destinations. Read more from…

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