Pat Hyland - Oct 3, 2021
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Launched last week, the Alentour platform will allow tourists to find and book activities near their holiday destination.

The Banque des Territoires has announced that it will launch a new website to provide travelers with a catalogue of tourism activities close to their hotel or campsite, which can be booked on their smartphone.

"We were hit in the face 15 years ago by the Tripadvisor revolution, then ten years ago by and then Airbnb... It would be good if digital innovation came from time to time from France, the world's leading tourist country," Olivier Sichel, director of the Banque des Territoires.

Alentour allows travelers to receive, when booking their hotel or when they arrive on holiday, a personalized text message or e-mail indicating a complete list of possible activities nearby, bookable via their smartphone.

Initiated in May 2020 by the government as part of a stimulus plan, the platform is in majority owned by the Banque des Territoires and chaired by Timothée de Roux, ex-CEO of Abritel HomeAway (Expedia Group), with Amadeus - which holds the rest of its capital - and Dawex as technological partners.

With the platform, tourist accommodation facilities - hotels, campsites, tourist residences - and institutions – Tourist Offices, Regional Tourism Committees – are able to offer a range of tourism activities to the visitors.

By scanning a QR code at their hotel or tourist office, travelers can avoid collecting paper brochures. Hotels can advise their guests on the nearby leisure activities, geolocated on an interactive map.

"We realized that tourists are increasingly interested in activities ranging from a visit to the local museum to the pony club to the accrobranching, and that they were quite undigitized," unlike the accommodation or transport offer, Olivier Sichel points out. "It's not easy to find them".

There would be "120 to 150,000 activity providers, for a business volume of 22 billion euros, of which only 5 to 10% come from digital bookings: the potential is enormous," says Timothée de Roux.

Alentour wants to differentiate itself from competitors like or Airbnb, which are very urban, says Timothée de Roux.

The platform has been tested since August on the Côte d'Azur, and will be gradually deployed all around France. In addition, it will be charged a "better" commission than the "20 to 35% commission charged on the market," according to Timothée de Roux.

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