Why tour operators should consider developing local strategic partnerships

Strategic partnership

In the time before the pandemic, any other tour company in your destination may have seemed like direct competition — even if they offered different tours or experiences than you. You were all competing for the same travelers, both domestic and international, and you were out to get as many bookings as possible.

However, in today’s post-pandemic climate where tourists are just beginning to step outside their comfort zones again, you may want to consider a strategic partnership with other local tour companies in your area.

As a tour operator, you probably categorize partnerships in three distinct ways:

  • OTA partnerships — These are valuable partnerships formed with online travel agents, such as Viator or Expedia.
  • Offline partnerships — These are traditional partnerships formed with local entities, such as visitor information centers or tourism bureaus.
  • Local partnerships — These collaborative partnerships formed with other local tour companies allow travelers to book package deals. This is the partnership we are going to delve into today.

Create a new offering via a strategic partnership

Travelers who are beginning to explore the world once again are looking for convenient and affordable options, which means that packages of all kinds are trending. As a tour operator, now is the right time to start thinking outside the box and to consider creating a local partnership with other tour companies in the area that offer complementary experiences to yours.

For example, if you run a tour company that offers sunrise and sunset kayak tours, then you may want to reach out to tour companies in the area that also offer wine and food tours. Together, you could create full-day packages that include an adventurous morning and a delicious afternoon and evening, or vice versa.

According to Travel Pulse, 41 percent of business owners in the travel industry have resorted to creating new products to survive the pandemic era. Now, as the world starts to inch its way into a post-pandemic world, many of these tour operators are finding that there is still demand for both their old and new products.

A few of the benefits that you may enjoy when you create a local partnership include:

  • Sharing the promotional and marketing costs for the package
  • Attracting a new market segment that may not have otherwise discovered your tour company
  • Driving additional business to your tour company in a post-pandemic world

Think local partnership with detailed knowledge

As you begin to create products within your local partnership, it’s important to keep in mind that you are both local tour companies who are destination experts. A few considerations that you may want to make include:

Altering the intended audience for your tours. If you typically cater to international travelers, it may be a good time to shift to a local perspective for a while in hopes of attracting domestic and local visitors. One way to do this is to create an impression that you do more than scratch the surface of the local area. For instance, a “hidden gems” tour that highlights your local knowledge and insight will make your partnership appealing to all types of travelers.

Re-imagine the tour experience for your guests. Focus on nostalgia or reliving an experience as a way of inviting local people to experience your tours from a fresh perspective or to try your products again.

local partnership

Opportunities for long-term growth and extended local partnership

When you invest the time and effort into creating a local partnership, you will benefit both in the short term and in the long term. You will likely be able to continue offering these products into the future, in addition to bringing back your traditional items that were put on pause due to the pandemic. All the while, you will be strengthening your connection to the local community and developing relationships that will benefit your business in the months and years to come.

Of course, don’t forget that all of your new products still need safety protocols in place and flexible cancellation policies attached. The shift from the pandemic era to the post-pandemic era will take time, and it’s important to cater to the specific needs of your travelers during this moment.

As a tour operator, you know how difficult the past 18 months have been for the entire industry. Now is the best time to create a local partnership with others in the area, as you can both move forward from this challenging chapter together. By teaming up for the recovery period, you and the other collaborative businesses will position your destination as the best option for interested travelers.

 

In order to effectively form a local partnership with other tour companies, you will need the right technology. Rezdy provides you with all the features you need to thrive in the post-pandemic world. Start a FREE 21-day trial or book a free demo with us today.

For more support and tips on how to increase sales in your travel & tourism business, follow Rezdy’s blog.

 

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