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Grupo Xcaret discovers the world of channel managers to bring experiences online

The Bókun Team • November 3, 2021

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Editor’s note: This blog post is part of Bókun’s Better Together series.

 This guest post is by Michel Cervantes Martínez , Director of Customer Acquisition at Grupo Xcaret where he leads the digital strategy for sale and marketing of products including tours and attractions.

(Versión en Español )

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At the end of 2018, we at Grupo Xcaret identified the need to expand our digital sales channels and attract retailers and wholesalers who had market niches in the tourism sector. Thus, we started a software benchmarking exercise where we then discovered the world of channel managers for Attractions and Tours.

Very quickly in early 2019, we made the decision to work with Bókun for different reasons, one of the most important being Bókun fully covered our need to open the new sales channel that we were planning, but its functionality went far beyond .

Another plus point for us was that Bókun had at that point just been acquired by Tripadvisor, a company with whom we worked previously, which guaranteed that the expectations of Grupo Xcaret would be materialized. Finally, but no less important, was that the price of Bókun is commensurate with the cost-benefit ratio for us.

It is also important to highlight that we were already working with the major online travel agencies (OTAs) that have high penetration in the travel markets with tourists for the Cancun and Riviera Maya area. While we were already connected with Viator through our own API, Bókun offered us the technical feasibility of connecting with Expedia and other major OTAs. With our API success and Bókun’s capabilities, we found a solid basis for the development of new connections. It was the perfect timing to automate the booking and cancellation processes with OTAs.

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We planned this as two phases, the first being connectivity with existing OTAs and ensuring accurate mapping of our products. Then, we’d move to the next phase to where we would be adding the development of a channel for smaller retailers and wholesalers once we master the functionalities that can be integrated with Bókun (Widgets and Agents).

In the second half of 2019, we worked on three areas—with the OTAs, with Bókun, and with the Integration department of Xcaret Group. With the OTAs, we informed them about the automation of reservations through Bókun, updated commercial contracts and conducted connection tests. With Bókun, we learned about the administrative structure, how to use the platform and developed the API with support from the integration team of Grupo Xcaret engineers.

“This first phase definitely helped us to increase sales with OTAs, as we reduced cut-off times, manual validations and errors that occurred with analogous processes.”

Then came 2020. It was a particularly difficult year for tourism and while we had to make several adjustments internally, including postponing our second phase with Bókun, we are now back on track and preparing the release of our e-Partners program for Q1 2022.

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I would like to highlight the great collaborative work with Bókun that has brought benefits for a region like Cancun and Riviera Maya where Attractions is of great relevance but technology is not yet fully adopted.

Bókun has helped Grupo Xcaret to move strongly towards process automation and to provide more modern tools for our sales force.

Another growing trend that we see is the adoption of channel managers in Attractions and Tours worldwide, which reinforces that Grupo Xcaret is on the right track with Bókun.