You are starting to see your distribution network come to life now. You’ve implemented real-time availability features that broadcast your live rates and open tours. You’ve set the prices for each of the products that you offer, and you know that you are going to continue to earn profits despite the growth in your distribution network. You are starting to make partnerships with the type of agents that work best for your business. Now, it’s time to uncover agents who can provide you with incremental growth channels.
What is an Incremental Distribution Channel?
Fully incremental channels are powerful distribution tools that allow you as a tour and activity operator to reach a traveler segment or audience that you might not otherwise have access to. In most cases, you are not going to be able to find these unique and innovative channels without agent partnerships. Specific types of agents work with potential customers who may have a surprising interest in your products. By expanding your distribution network to include these agents, you can directly benefit from these channels.
Example of Incremental Growth
Travelers that visit Las Vegas, know about the casinos, shows and the nightlife. But thinking about Las Vegas you wouldn’t necessarily think about the indoor skydiving you can do during the day. There is a huge audience visiting Las Vegas that is unaware of this activity. Connecting to an agent with a lot of marketing power (online travel agencies) would put your product in front of this audience (travelers who don’t know of your existence) who is looking for things to do on the same day in your destination. You want to make it on this list, to attract people you would never be able to attract yourself.
Some other examples of Incremental Growth Channels
These are a few examples of incremental growth channels that you can use in order to improve the number of bookings at your tour and activity company:
- Gift Card Promotions to Local Residents — The people who live in your destination are not typically the customers that you target in your marketing and promotion efforts. However, they may be interested in experiencing one of your tours and activities as a way to enjoy something unique and different in their own hometown. You can work with local employers or the local chamber of commerce in order to offer gift card promotions to residents in the region. Not only will you get a boost in your bookings from a new audience, but you may find that you see an increase in referrals as well.
- Giveaways at Local Events — Nearly every destination offers activities, festivals and events for the people who reside there permanently. Incorporate your tours into the giveaways that take place at these events, and offer a free tour as a prize. This allows you to attract more local residents to your company, and also increases your brand exposure.
Best Practices for Uncovering Incremental Growth Channels
- Partner with local agents, employers and the visitor information centre in your area. You don’t necessarily have to recruit travel agents as partners in your distribution network. You can work with local residents and business professionals in your area in order to see if they are interested in reselling your tours in order to earn a commission. Shopkeepers, restaurants owners and hotel operators may be possible options for new agents that can help you uncover incremental distribution channels.
- Include OTAs in your distribution network. OTAs are known for their affordable vacation packages, and they may be able to include your tours into a package that is marketed toward a niche audience. Instead of competing with OTAs, bring them in as part of your team of distribution agents.