Updated April 2023Expanding your distribution network and improving your online distribution strategy can greatly benefit both outbound and inbound tour operators, but it’s key to remember that success in the travel industry is not solely based on the quality of your product. Partnering with travel wholesalers can provide a valuable channel for reaching a wider audience and increasing bookings, but it’s important to strike the right balance between working with wholesalers and maintaining your own tourism profit margins.

These tips will help you develop relationships with the top businesses in the wholesale travel industry.

What is a tour wholesaler?

If you want to target wholesalers as a distribution partner, then you need to know exactly what they do within the travel industry.

The role of the wholesaler is unique, in the sense that they don’t work directly with travelers in the marketplace. Rather, a wholesaler will sell your tour products to retail travel agencies. In addition, they work with inbound tour operators to manage the specific details of itineraries. Essentially, B2B travel wholesalers help create all-inclusive packages for travelers to book. More and more travelers are now searching for comprehensive travel packages that include all of their experiences. By engaging with tour operators and travel wholesalers, it will be a valuable distribution channel for you to focus on.

9 tips for tour operators working with wholesalers

Here are nine tips for successfully working with B2B travel wholesalers.

Learn how tour wholesalers work

Learning how tour wholesalers work is crucial for tour operators who want to effectively partner with them and grow their business. Wholesalers act as intermediaries between tour operators and travel agents, and they often have established relationships with a wide network of agents who can help promote and sell the tours. By understanding how wholesalers operate, tour operators can better navigate the process of negotiating commission with travel agents and setting competitive pricing for their tours. 

Additionally, understanding how much travel agents make can help tour operators tailor their offerings to meet the needs and expectations of their target audience, ultimately leading to increased sales and a more profitable business.

Highlight the unique selling point of your tours

travel wholesalers

Wholesale tour operators are frequently searching for tours and activities that are both unique and authentic. These are the types of experiences that travelers are craving, and they want to be able to customize the itineraries. Not only that but having unique experiences will also be appealing to retail travel agents to better market the activity. According to Arival’s Path to Purchase September 2021 edition, the demand for unique experiences in 2021 has increased at drastic levels. More travelers are now searching for an experience that stands out and they’re willing to spend more for it.

When working with travel wholesalers, use online marketing techniques to showcase your products. Be sure to emphasize any value-added features that you include with the booking rate. Building unique experiences can be as simple as adding extra elements that your competitors might not do. For example, Offering lunch or dinner options along with a tour maybe that extra bit that will seal the deal.

Streamline your bookings online

Given the nature of their job, wholesalers will almost exclusively work with tour and activity operators who offer online booking. They are not going to have the time available to make phone calls or wait for e-mail responses. To attract the best wholesalers in the wholesale travel industry, you should implement an online booking system that simplifies the booking process. In addition, your online booking system should allow them to automatically earn their commission. This is, understandably, a priority of wholesalers.

For instance, an online booking software like Rezdy allows you to integrate and connect with multiple distribution agents. Once connected, they’ll be able to see live rates and real-time availability that allows them to book instantly. This removes the need to get in touch with you in order to process the booking. Once a booking has been processed, the commission rate you set will be automatically distributed to the agent. 

With a system like Rezdy in place, it’ll help both you and the wholesaler save time spent on processing orders. As a result, it will allow you to allocate your resources to more important areas of your business.

Set consistent rates for your tours

It’s imperative that you set consistent rates for your tours and activities, regardless of who is selling or booking them. For example, you can’t charge OTAs (online travel agents) one rate for your tours while switching up the prices on your website. When working with wholesalers, it is important to note that the commission rate may vary from one wholesaler to another. This may impact your profit margins, but it is beneficial to work with a diverse range of distribution agents.

Approach each tour wholesaler individually

Each wholesaler is different and the services they provide may vary from one wholesaler to another. As a tour operator, you’ll be working with multiple wholesalers located in different countries and regions that provide different services to different types of travel communities.

It’s important that you treat each wholesaler individually and build a personalized partnership. By doing so, it will help maximize your bookings and give you ideas for future marketing strategies. Consider incorporating a cloud based phone system into your operations to enhance your collaboration during the initial stages of your partnership. With this system, you can easily communicate and coordinate no matter where these wholesalers may be located. Features like call forwarding, voicemail, and conference calling enable seamless communication allowing for quick responses and effective coordination.

Tips on working with travel wholesalers

Meet your tour wholesaler face to face

Building a strong relationship with your tour wholesalers is crucial in ensuring you continue to have a smooth ongoing partnership. Being able to build trust and likeability with them allows for a more personalized venture that benefits both parties.

To communicate with your wholesaler via email gets the job done, however meeting them in person or over video -call will add that personal element. You will see that communication and negotiations will flow much easier once you have met them face-to-face.

Connect with your tour wholesaler on social media

Social media is currently one of the strongest platforms many businesses use to communicate with their customers and followers. In this day and age, many businesses – big or small – have a social media page that they will use to promote their business or provide updates.

You can use social media to your advantage by engaging with your tour wholesalers on multiple platforms. When you’re able to show support and promote your partners on social media by following, sharing, and engaging with them, they will likely return the favor. 

When other businesses promote you on their social media page, this will open you up to a pool of viewers that may not be aware of your business. Consider it as free publicity.

Treat your tour wholesalers like your business

tour wholesalers

When you apply to partner up with a travel wholesaler, it’s best to do some research about the company and approach them personally. Partnering with a travel wholesaler is more than just signing up to become one of their suppliers, you need to treat them as if they’re your own business. After all, they are providing you with another stream of income.

When working with a travel wholesaler, make sure you inform them of the latest updates, promotions, and opportunities. This will ensure that their staff is up to speed on the latest information that they then can share with their customers.

Keep track of your bookings

It’s important to be able to measure the success of the partnership between your business and the travel wholesaler. After all, you want to know what’s working and what’s not in order to cater to and strategize for the best possible outcomes. 

Keeping track of the bookings that come through from each distribution agent will allow you to have a better understanding of each market. This can then help you create marketing strategies catered towards these markets in order to boost your bookings.

Key takeaways

Working with travel wholesalers can be a valuable strategy for tour operators looking to grow their business and reach a wider audience. By understanding how wholesaler tour operators work, negotiating fair commission rates, and developing strong relationships with their partners, tour operators can successfully navigate the complex landscape of the travel industry and maximize their profitability. 

One effective tool for achieving just that is an online booking software like Rezdy, which streamlines the process of partnering with distribution agents, including wholesalers. Rezdy’s innovative channel manager platform ensures that all partners have access to your live rates and availability, making it easier to manage your distribution network and maximize your profitability.

If you’re interested in trying Rezdy for yourself, you can sign up for a FREE 21-day trial or request a free demo from our friendly team.

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