All tour operators who want to distribute their products to hard-to-reach markets need to do so through agents. They can get your tours and activities out in the market faster than you can trying to build it all yourself. For an effective partnership, you need a good agent relationship.
So how can you kick off the agent relationship in the right way?
1. Find the right agents to work with
What do we mean by ‘right’? You can’t just pick anyone to work with – you need to suss them out. So look for these qualities:
- Financial stability. What are their financial resources and credit rating? If they’re overseas, you may want to use a professional credit checking agency.
- Relevant experience. Do they have experience selling similar tours and activities? You need to make sure there is a demand from their customer base.
- Management skills. What are their achievements with other partners like you? They need to have something to show for the length of time they’ve been in business.
- Adequate resources. How big is their business and what systems do they use? Without the right amount of resources, they may fall short.
- Product mix. How do you fit into their business plan? Ask them what their sales projections are for your products and why to see if they are really invested in your success.
- Sales capability. Will their staff be motivated to sell your products? Check what incentives they have and how staff are trained.
- Promotional expertise. How do they market to their customers? They should have lots of network contacts and be able to give you numbers on their marketing channels.
For agent screening questions, read the full post.
2. Define your agent relationship with an agent-supplier agreement
This is your terms of trade, i.e. contract that details how you are prepared to work with each other. Remember to include:
- Product range. Which of your products are they selling for you?
- Materials. What will you give them to help them sell for you?
- Market. What locale are they selling your product to?
- Delivery. How will you deliver your product once they have sold it?
- Booking management. How will bookings be handled?
- Reporting. How frequent will the reports be, and what will be in them?
- Troubleshooting. How will you work together to resolve major issues?
- Commission rate sheet. What commission will they get for each product?
Commission is the top priority on your agents’ minds, so be sure to get it right.
3. Automate it with booking software
Ongoing booking management can be one of the biggest strains in the agent relationship. If you’re lucky enough to have Rezdy, your agents will be able to log in for free and send you bookings without any manual intervention.
Everyone’s happy because you won’t be stuck doing more work by manually processing their bookings, and they don’t need to constantly call you to check for availability.
So how do you do it? First, you need to go to Contacts > Agents > Add an agent.
When you get to Agent Payment, define what’s required for agents to make bookings.
For example, if you have a $100 order and 20% commission on products:
- Full payment to agent. Agent takes $100. You invoice the agent for $80 on a regular basis, or after customers give you vouchers from this agent.
- Downpayment to agent. Agent takes $20 at time of booking. The customer pays you $80 on the day of the tour, or when you request the payment.
- Full payment to supplier. You get $100 at time of booking. You pay the agent on a regular basis, or when he invoices you.
- No payment tracked. No payment is tracked on Rezdy. Orders will be unpaid.
Then, define what permission you want to give to your agent on Rezdy.
Each agent will have limited availability to a specific Catalog. Your Catalog defines commission rates and the access and restrictions you give to this agent. These are created in the Inventory > Catalogs menu.
Once you add your agent, they’ll get an invitation email and you’ll see them in your agent list. Even if they don’t accept, you’ll still be able to track them.
And voila – you have everything you need to start your relationship the right way.
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