By Blake Ng — 23 Apr 2017
Not all bookings are created equal. Tour and activity operators need to understand the major differences between the two types of bookings, and also create a distribution strategy that allows them to increase both types of bookings simultaneously. A diverse range of bookings from a variety of sources is the best way for you to grow your tour and activity company — now you just need to learn how to generate those bookings.
Learn the difference between the two types of bookings
The simplest of the two types of bookings, direct bookings are defined as those that are made through your own booking system. Direct bookings can be made online, over the phone or in person. In many respects, direct bookings are preferable to tour and activity operators. When you earn a direct booking, you don’t have to pay a commission to an agent. Ultimately, you generate more revenue per booking when you are able to secure a direct reservation over your website. The drawback of direct bookings is that they are more difficult to acquire in terms of how much work you as the operator need to do to get them.
Rezdy helps tour operators increase their direct bookings by offering a simple, user-friendly online booking engine that easily implements into any website design. Notable features of the booking engine include short forms and a vivid “Book Now” button which captures the attention of motivated travelers who want to finalize their plans. The booking engine broadcasts your live availability, so customers who are viewing your calendar always know exactly what tours and time slots are currently open. This helps minimize confusion and frustration as well as increases trust in your brand.
The second of the two types of bookings is indirect bookings. These are any bookings for your tours and activities that come through a reselling agent. This could be a retail travel agent, an OTA, a hotel concierge or a representative from the local visitor information centre. Indirect bookings are critical because they allow you to increase your reach within the travel industry and access travelers who may not otherwise discover your brand. Some agents may specialize in solo travelers, while others coordinate group trips for clubs and organizations. By increasing your indirect bookings, you can boost your brand recognition.
The Rezdy online booking system includes a Channel Manager that allows you to network and partner with a large number of distribution agents. All agents receive your real-time availability and they can book directly over the Channel Manager.
Your distribution strategy should be designed so that is encourages direct bookings, as these are the least expensive bookings that you can earn. At the same time, it also should allow you to network with a wide range of agents and distribution channels in order to diversify your bookings and help you create a strong, recognizable brand within the global travel industry.
Rezdy takes pride in the fact that it offers its clients the resources it needs in order to understand the best industry practices that can be used by tour and activity operators. To find out more information about creating an effective distribution strategy that increase both direct and indirect bookings, download the Rezdy distribution ebook now.