Join Forces With the Enemy: Why it Works for Tours & Activities

10 Apr 2015     |    Taz Bareham

Tour operators, stop trying to crush your competition. Instead, join forces to drive revenue.

Though this may sound outlandish,  it’s important to try to see if there’s potential to form a strategic partnership where both of you can benefit.

Here’s why it works.

Why should tours and activities businesses partner with their competitors?

An inclusive, collaborative mindset is better for everyone in the tourism industry – especially for your destination.

As we have previously stated, at the end of the day, your destination is competing with other areas nearby. So instead of competing with other tour operators in your destination, work together to promote it!

Stop being so focused on blotting out your competition, and think of creative ways how both partners can capitalise on your situation.

If you succeed, you and your partner could reap plenty of benefits, like…

Cross-selling and up-selling opportunities

Do you encounter customers that would benefit from a competitor’s product in addition to yours? You can include it as an extra, and pocket the commission.

If you find that you have strengths in certain areas and your competitor has strengths in other areas, you can specialise and cross-refer customers. This is the most valuable type of referral you can get.

For example, your hikes may be geared towards younger, more advanced adventure trekkers. Seniors and those looking for leisurely walks can be referred to your partner in the area.

Learning from each other

It would be wrong to assume there is nothing your competitors can teach you.

Sharing your knowledge with each other (in non-competing areas) can drive both businesses to improve, setting a higher standard for the industry in general.

How can you successfully partner with your competitors?

Since it’s more complex than your typical business partnership, you need to tread more carefully.

If you and your partner are trying to achieve a mutual goal (ie. get more visitors to your destination), then this gives you the common ground to collaborate effectively.

This is the best way to work together, so that you can better serve your customers and build better businesses in the process.

Conduct a background check

As with any partnership, you need to do your homework. Are they financially stable? What’s the general feedback on the quality of their products? Find out, because your relationship is at stake.

Package tour and activity products together

Think about whether your businesses could benefit from a joint venture (eg. by packaging a product together).

Find gap in your partner’s business you can fill with your tour products, and vice versa.

For your customers, packaged tours offer plenty of benefits:

  • Cheaper than booking all the elements themselves.
  • Gives all of the responsibility to the tour operator.
  • Super convenient because there’s no hassle of contacting all of the different suppliers and arranging bookings.
  • If they’re up for going on tour with other travelers, it’s more social.

For you, partnering with other tour operators who offer complementary products is a smart way to reduce your promotion costs while making your package more appealing.

Create a formal proposal

Your partnership isn’t complete without a non-disclosure agreement. Putting it all on paper ensures commitment from both sides.

You might want to limit this to one project at a time to reduce the risk of it not working out (and if it doesn’t, move on gracefully).

Use technology to facilitate the relationship

Booking technology like Rezdy allows you to resell other operators, making commission on their tours.

Our free Agent Desk lets you find tours and activities to resell and opt into their commission rate. Rezdy manages the bookings and the payments.

To learn more get in touch, schedule a live demo, or take a free trial.