How Many Agents Should a Tour Operator Have?

23 Oct 2016     |    Blake Ng

As a tour operator, you know that agents are necessary in order for you to distribute your products and grow your business. But you’re often left wondering, how many agents should you have for your business? Is there a certain number that is ideal — that will promote your business, but not bog you down with booking logistics? The answer is simpler than you might imagine. Ultimately, you need to strive to network with as many agents as possible!

Benefits of Distributing Your Tours to as Many Agents as Possible

  • You become less dependent on your independent sales channel. While direct bookings are beneficial, and they are the most cost effective types of bookings, you will not want to rely solely on your own independent sales channel. This is a very limited channel, and it can be difficult to manage it effectively while also trying to provide superior products for your customers. By networking with agents, you are able to resell your tours and activities through agents, reach a much larger audience base, and earn bookings that you would not have otherwise received. This will make your business stronger and more viable, allowing you to provide the tours and activities you are known for in the years to come.
  • You develop stronger negotiating power. The more agents you work with, the stronger your negotiating power will be. For example, if one of your most trusted and reliable agents suddenly asks for a higher commission rate, you can bargain with them better if you have other agents available to book your tours. If you do not have an extensive network of agents, you may be forced to pay the higher commission rate in order to continue to earn bookings for your tours outside of your independent sales channels. You want to pay competitive commission rates that encourage agents to work with you, but you don’t want to offer more than you have to simply to keep agents on your side.
  • You improve your visibility among your target customers. Different types of agents work with specific types of travelers. By extending your network of agents, you may uncover an agent who works with special interest travelers. You may be able to personalize your tours and activities to accommodate special interest travelers, ultimately earning bookings that you may not have otherwise discovered. The more agents you work with, the more visible your brand will be to travelers across the globe. Retail travel agents, OTAs and other agents will promote your products for you, and you only have to pay for this advertising when you get a booking.

Proper distribution requires you to network with agents on the local level as well as on the international level. A variety of agents who work with different types of customers will help you diversify your business and grow your business into the future. In order to find out more information about the most effective ways to market and distribute your tour and activity products, download our online distribution ebook today.

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