The Best Booking Channels for Tours & Activities [Slides]

4 Jul 2014     |    Taz Bareham

Selling direct to your customers is not enough to maximise your profits. You need to increase your profits by investing in the right distribution channels.

Why? Because more distribution channels means more ways to reach customers.

Here are 7 distribution channels that you can’t ignore.

#1: Websites & social media

The internet is now being used as a purchasing tool by your customers. Make sure that you:

  • Provide all necessary information (description, details)
  • Showcase photos, videos, testimonials
  • Create an online presence on social networks

When it comes to social media, make use of TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Twitter.

#2: Online travel agencies

Online travel agencies (otherwise known as OTAs) increase your online reach by allowing you to use their massive booking channels.

  • They list your tour or activity on their site
  • Their users search for and book with you
  • They receive a percentage of commission

There are 2 OTA giants for tours and activities globally.


  • Focused on tours and activities
  • Sells products globally through, 60 consumer-facing websites, mobile websites and apps, and affiliate network
  • Listings supported by more than 500K reviews videos by travelers
  • 9 million unique visitors per month


  • Largest travel company in the world – covers flights, accommodation, car rental, things to do
  • Global presence in over 70 countries
  • Over 50 million unique visitors each month
  • Mobile apps downloaded nearly 80 million times at a rate of over 200 downloads per minute

#3: Visitor Information Centers

Many travelers head to Visitor Information Centers to look for recommendations. As the first point of contact for travelers in your area, you want them to recommend your business.

  • They provide tour booking and transport referral services
  • They are run by local or state governments, or sometimes by an association of tourism operators on behalf of the government
  • They expect a commission for every referral
  • They need a sales kit from you

#4: Government Tourism Sites

Your government-run website is one of the most valuable listings that you can make for your business. It proves that you are a legitimate business with consistent reviews.

  • They operate destination websites (national, state, region), and promote local tourism businesses
  • They allow you to list your company and maybe buy ad space
  • Tours and activities are usually required to meet a certain criteria in order to be accepted

#5: Online review sites

Reviews are so valuable because 93% of global travelers say their booking decisions are impacted by online reviews (Tourism Research Australia).

Make sure you get reviewed on TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Viator at the very least.

#6: Voucher Sites

When done correctly, voucher and daily deal sites can bring you tons of new customers and increase your revenue. In fact, 66 million digital coupons were redeemed industry-wide in 2013 (Voucher Cloud).

Some travelers will have received gift vouchers for tours and activities, or have bought a coupon from a daily deal site. They will redeem their vouchers and coupons when they arrive at their destination. You can always partner with these sites so that your tour is listed.

#7: Concierge Services

  • They assist hotel guests with tasks that will help them get the most out of the destination
  • They make reservations for restaurants, spas, transport, events and tours and activities
  • They need your sales kit for those who might be interested
  • They are time-poor, so they need a quick way to check your availability and book

Make sure that local concierge desks have your brochures and flyers available for people who might be interested in the tours and activities that you offer.

Drop off your brochures at nearby hotels and convince your conciege that it’s a good idea to resell you. You may even want to provide the concierge desk workers with a tour experience with your company so they can provide a first-hand recommendation for your guests.

Want more tips on distribution?

Our free ebook covers everything tour operators need to know about increasing revenue through local and international distribution:

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