Best Practice for Tours and Activities: Attract Local and International Agents

4 Feb 2017     |    Blake Ng

Your rejuvenated distribution strategy is starting to take on a concrete form now. You’ve set your live availability, determined your pricing and established your commission rates. You now know the type of agents that you want to target and partner with as you expand your professional distribution network.

But how are you going to connect with those agents?

Partnering with Large Agents and OTAs

Large OTAs make it quite convenient for you to partner with them and allow them to resell your tours and activities. Most of these agents have registration pages on their websites. When you are ready to expand your distribution network to include OTAs, simply go to their website and fill out the registration information. This is where you can leave details about the tours that you offer, the prices that you have set and the commission rates that OTAs can earn. You can follow any additional instructions that are available on the registration pages in order to finalize your inquiry. OTAs to consider include Viator, Expedia and Orbitz.

Connecting with Smaller, Independent Agents

Smaller agents are not always as easy to reach as large OTAs, so it’s important to have an outreach strategy created in order to increase the number of independent agents that you work with. Whenever you reach out to a new independent agent, you will want to have an information page available in order to provide them with more insight into the products that you offer. You can begin your efforts by calling or e-mailing the individual agents.

Here’s some elements that you will want to include on your product information page:

  • Audience Information — Agents need to know the type of travelers that you are targeting when it comes to promoting your products. If you run an extreme adventure company, it’s unlikely that you are looking to book families with young children on your tours and activities. You need to clearly identify the audience that you target for your products, and provide your agents with as much information as possible about that target audience.
  • Pricing Information — The most important piece of information here is the actual price of the tour. You also will want to clearly spell out your commission rates that you pay agents. In addition, you should include any additional costs that travelers may incur while on the tour, such as costs for food or beverages, or equipment rental fees.
  • Information About Your Booking Process — Agents will want to know more about the type of booking system that you have. If you have invested in an online booking system that is connected with a channel manager and has the ability to broadcast your live availability, agents will be more likely to work with your tour company.
  • Expectations of Agents that You Partner With — Let agents know what they need to do in order to work with you. If you want them to use your booking system, identify that on this information sheet. If they need to do additional work to promote your products, make that clear as well.

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