By Blake Ng — 29 Oct 2017
Obviously, a large part of your tour and activity company’s business strategy is going to be devoted to driving direct bookings. While direct bookings generate significant revenue for your business, you won’t be able to rely on these prized bookings alone. Growing your business and expanding your customer base requires you to develop a distribution strategy filled with a vast network of agents who will resell your tours and activities for you.
Here’s 3 partnerships that you need to establish within your distribution network:
These agents may seem like a dated entity in today’s social online environment, but they are still a pivotal part of any distribution strategy. Retail travel agents, visitor information centre representatives and hotel concierges provide travelers with reliable insight into the tours and activities that are available in the local area. By working with them and allowing them to resell your tours and activities for a commission, you can capture last-minute bookings and bookings from hard-to-reach market segments. Travelers around the world trust these agents implicitly, as they have been part of the industry since the beginning.
As part of the new-age travel industry, online agents help you reach specific market segments that have always relied on technology to create their travel plans. Your distribution network should include a variety of online agents, including OTAs like Viator and daily deal sites like Groupon. Online agents can help you reach specific niche audiences that may otherwise be difficult for you to access. For example, you can work with a Chinese OTA that is widely-used amongst Chinese travelers, which represent one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world.
It may go against your every inclination to try to partner with your competition, but it actually can be beneficial to both parties. Many travelers today are looking to book all-inclusive packages that allow them to purchase a full itinerary with a simple click. Identify tour and activity operators in your area that may offer complementary experiences, and work with them to create a package that you can promote to your target audience. For instance, if you offer surf lessons in your oceanfront destination, you could partner with a tour company that offers kayaking wildlife tours. This type of package would attract adventure travelers who want to immerse themselves in your destination for an affordable price.
Your distribution strategy needs to include a diverse range of agents in order to be as effective as possible. As you develop this network, you also will want to invest in technology that allows you to implement your distribution strategy and manage your agents. A channel manager is an absolute necessity, as this allows you to promote your live availability to all of your agents while significantly minimizing your risk of overbooking your tours and activities. The Rezdy online booking system includes an innovative channel manager that makes it easy to create a distribution strategy that drives bookings. Begin your free demo of Rezdy today!