Now that you’ve implemented real-time availability and have set your prices, the next step that you need to take is to form partnerships with agents for your distribution network. Finding the right type of agents for your target audience is a critical part of creating an effective distribution strategy. You need to provide agents with the information that your customers need in order to feel comfortable booking and paying for your tours and activities.
There’s a variety of agents throughout the industry and across the globe that are actively seeking partnerships with tour and activity operators. As a business owner, you need to be able to identify the types of agents that are right for your particular company. We have listed 4 of the most commonly used.
Hotel Concierges and Visitor Information Centres
- Advantages: Hotel concierges and visitor information centre professionals are experts not only in the local destination, but also in the types of travelers that frequent the area. They provide travelers with personal service and recommendations, and they know the target market well. They also receive feedback from guests, and can pass that along to you as a tour and activity operator.
- Disadvantages: Given the fact that these travel professionals work in spaces with relatively low numbers of visitors (compared to a website), it can be difficult for you to market your products effectively through these agents.
- Advantages: Partnerships with travel bloggers require you to allow these bloggers to experience your tours first-hand in exchange for a post about your company and its offerings on their blogs. When you partner with a travel blogger, you get a nice story on an alternative platform. Typically, these posts include excellent visuals such as high-resolution photographs or videos.
- Disadvantages: Travel bloggers generally have a limited, niche audience. If you want to focus on this type of partnership, you will need to connect with a significant number of travel bloggers in order to be effective. Also, it is risky to rely too heavily on bloggers as a means of distribution because it is completely out of your hands what they write about you!
Online Travel Agencies
- Advantages: Destination websites are often the first place that travelers visit when they are at the beginning stages of planning their next trip. When you partner with a destination website, you reach a large audience that is just discovering the options that are available in your destination. Known as the research stage, this is the ideal time during the online booking journey to capture the attention of your target audience.
- Disadvantages: These websites are often operated by government entities, which can be less willing to form partnerships with individual operators. They also do not always boast a high conversion rate, as the travelers who visit these sites are generally just looking for information and are not as motivated to book immediately.