Perhaps you imagined your days as the owner of a whale watching tour company to go a little different. In your mind, you might have pictured yourself cruising in the open waters, searching for whales with excited travelers hoping to catch a glimpse of the magnificent creatures that are native to your area. In reality, you probably spend most of your time behind a desk trying to market your company and increase your bookings.
If this sounds like your current situation, the time is now to begin partnering with agents. Here’s why:
Online marketing is critical for any tour and activity business, but it can be difficult to compete with the large OTAs that dominate the search engine results. By outsourcing your bookings and creating packages with the large OTAs, you can stress less about your rankings and focus more on your increase in bookings. The large OTAs will target the audience you need for you, and you’ll enjoy a boost in your bookings that would not have been possible without the partnership. This gives you the opportunity to focus on what is most important: the actual tours that you provide to your customers.
Different types of agents are going to have access to different customers — not all of whom you would have access to as a local tour and activity provider. For instance, a large OTA is going to be able to reach out to a global audience. A daily deal site can market your products to a group of people that might not normally travel to your area, but will be compelled to do so as a result of a great deal. Increasing your reach will help ensure that you have an endless stream of bookings from a diverse customer base.
It may seem like paying commissions to agents who resell your products is a costly expense that your business cannot afford, but in reality you cannot afford not to. You will see enjoy a higher ROI when you partner with the right agents who will market your products for you and help you increase your bookings. In addition, an automated booking system can simplify the process and will help encourage agents to work with you. It’s important to make it fast, easy and convenient for agents to book your tours.