Rather than simply identifying the number of bookings that your tour and activity company receives, you need to delve further into your data and evaluate where those bookings are coming from. By understanding your booking sources, you can implement more refined marketing and distribution strategies that allow you to increase your bookings and grow your brand throughout the industry.
A recent survey conducted by Martin Soler, an executive at World Independent Hotel Promotions, highlighted the top booking sources for tour and activity providers. About 12,000 respondents answered questions for the survey, providing tour and activity operators with insight into booking preferences from the perspective of their customers.
Top Booking Sources for Tour Operators
- Friends and Family Members — As social media continues to play a significant role in the daily lives of many people, friends and family members hold the power of becoming your most necessary booking source. As your travelers document their adventures with your tour company, they will likely be sharing that information with their friends on the most popular social networking sites. This is your easiest and most affordable form of marketing, and it’s quickly allowing your friends and family members to become your most powerful booking source. Don’t neglect your social media presence, improve your engagement with your followers and encourage your customers to share their photos, videos and thoughts on social media before, during and after their tour.
- TripAdvisor — Online reviews are an important step in a customer’s online booking journey, as most travelers see these review sites as an honest, objective source for more information about any type of travel company. Data shows that an increasing number of travelers rely on online review sites, such as TripAdvisor, in order to gather information before they make a final decision about a tour or activity that they book. You can increase your bookings through TripAdvisor by implementing an online booking system that will allow you to accept direct bookings from your page on the site.
- OTAs — Online Travel Agents, known in the industry as OTAs, used to be the most relevant booking source for tour operators. While this distribution channel is falling in the rankings, OTAs should still play a major role in your overall distribution strategy. Partner with the most well-known OTAs in the industry in order to increase your brand recognition and reach a large, global audience.
Tour and activity operators should note that distribution channels such as TripAdvisor and OTAs are beginning to drop in the rankings, as the friends and family members booking channel has risen to the top spot. This may highlight the need to focus more on social media and referral promotions within a marketing strategy, while also emphasizing the need to diversify the networking of distribution agents that you work with on a daily basis.
To learn more about developing an effective distribution strategy and increasing your bookings from different types of sources, download the Rezdy online distribution ebook today.