One of the reasons that you are investing time and energy into improving your distribution strategy is so that you can rely more heavily on agent bookings. This is a proven way to increase your bookings overall and continue to grow your business. While you are implementing your distribution strategy and expanding your agent network, you should also make it a point to change your marketing channel strategy.
Without a plethora of agents booking your tours and activities for you, you have to rely more heavily on various types of marketing and advertising campaigns. Pay-per-click campaigns, such as Google AdWords or Facebook ads, are expensive and do not always offer the return on investment that you need in order to effectively grow your business. By increasing your agent partnerships, you can utilize on their marketing and promotional resources and decrease your own marketing budget.
What Types of Agents Improve Your Marketing Channel Strategy?
In general, the agents that will best improve your marketing channel strategy are larger agents, such as OTAs. This is due to the fact that these giant organizations invest a significant amount of time and resources into marketing. They not only promote their own brands, but also the brands that they partner with through their services.
Marketing Services Offered Through OTAs
- Search Engine Optimization — When it comes to search engine rankings, OTAs dominate the playing field (or, will eventually) . Individual tour and activity operators are never going to outrank the large OTAs, which have SEO experts on staff in order to ensure that they are always in the top rankings on the SERP. Instead of trying to compete against OTAs, tour and activity operators should work with them as distribution partners.
- Social Media Marketing — OTAs also promote their brands and the products available through them via social media advertising. Whether it’s through Facebook ads or Sponsored Instagram posts, OTAs have a large presence on the top social networking sites. If your tour and activity company creates a distribution partnership with one of the leading OTAs, you will in turn be promoted on the same social networking sites. OTAs have the ability to reach a global audience, and will promote their posts to traveler segments that you would otherwise not be able to access. While it’s important to develop your own brand’s presence on social media, you can also complement your efforts with those offered through the OTAs.
- PPC Campaigns — The leading OTAs also will incorporate PPC campaigns into their SEO strategies. This means that they are selecting the trending keywords to invest in, and are taking on the risks associated with PPC campaigns. Your brand will be packaged into the deals being offered through the OTAs, so you don’t have to worry about how many visitors are converting into customers. The OTAs are paying for these ad campaigns on Google, Facebook and other platforms, and your brand will simply reap the benefits of the additional exposure. In most cases, you also will enjoy a boost in your bookings as well.