Association forms for tours, activities and attractions specialists

A consortium of leading reservation and ticketing system providers, distributors, experience operators and other tours, activities and attractions companies has led the formation of Open Connectivity for Tours, Activities & Attractions (OCTO), a non-profit association that aims to advance technical connectivity standards for this travel sector.

OCTO provides an open source specification – the OCTO Spec – to enable reservation and ticketing system providers and tour, activity and attraction ticket resellers to connect their systems for more efficient distribution.

OCTO provides members with opportunities to participate in the development of OCTO Spec; Alaska X’s Glacier Point Wilderness Safari excursion pictured

“The technology and distribution landscape in tours and attractions is incredibly fragmented, with hundreds of technology providers, in-house technologies and many hundreds of resellers,” said Carrie Keplinger, EVP of Go City and vice president, OCTO.

“This has required each company to invest in new API development every time they want to connect to a new partner. A standard specification would significantly reduce the cost for many companies in our industry to connect to more partners and grow the industry.”

OCTO does not provide an API, channel manager or connectivity infrastructure or services, nor does it charge for any services. The specification and documentation are freely available on the OCTO website.

The association’s founding members include Arival, Go City, Tiqets and TUI Musement, and comprises specialists in technology such as CityPASS, Goblick and Headout as well as operators and attractions such as Alaska X, Merlin Entertainments and Universal Orlando.

OCTO wants to grow its membership to support the advancement of the specification, and provides members with opportunities to participate in the development of OCTO Spec through the Specification Committee and various working groups. It also provides members with implementation support through an online community platform, as well as through online and in-person meetings.

The association welcomes representatives from tour and activity operators and visitor attractions to join and participate on the Operator Advisory Committee and working groups, to ensure that operators have direct input on the direction of the specification.

Different levels of membership for technology providers, distributors and tour and attraction operators are available.

Douglas Quinby, CEO of Arival, and president of OCTO, tours, told TTG Asia that the association is relevant to tours, activities and attractions players in Asia-Pacific.

“OCTO already has several members who are active in Asia, and the intent is that the specification would have global applicability,” he noted, adding that the association will also welcome attraction and operator associations into its membership.

The first OCTO members meeting will be held on October 19 at the Arival Las Vegas conference.

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