The phrase ‘no man is an island’ couldn’t be more true in the tourism industry. Everything is connected and everyone relies on each other. As a tourism operator, you’re never truly self-sufficient. You have to partner with other businesses to expand your network and grow your business. So which businesses should you partner with?
Having a website, TripAdvisor page, and various social media profiles is important, but they’ll only get you so far. Unfortunately, this is the bare minimum. To get ahead of your competition, you need the right online partners to get your name out there. This is where daily deal sites, online travel agents, government tourism bodies, and experiential gifting sites can come in handy.
Online travel agents such as Groupon and Viator are excellent partners when it comes to promoting your products. These online distribution channels have extensive databases and a strong following that you can use to attract more attention to your brand.
Groupon, for example, is a global e-commerce and daily deal giant. It connects its subscribers with local merchants for the best deals and discounts. You can use it to design a promotion that targets specific people that would be interested in booking your products.
Partnering with these online agents usually comes with a fee. But being able to access an abundance of potential customers is always worth the investment.
The internet may have changed the tourism industry forever, but even today, offline agents still play a huge role in the industry.
Many tourists still ask for recommendations from hotel concierges, visitor information centres, and retail travel agents for their itineraries. They trust these people to give them honest information. More and more hotel concierges and tourist information centres are working with tourism operators to provide their guests customised and personalised itineraries.
These offline agents won’t just help promote your tours, they can also help you get more direct bookings through recommendations.
You can also make their lives easier by creating special accounts in your online booking system for them so they can book guests in exchange for commissions.
Other Tour Operators
This may seem counter-intuitive but your competitors can be your partners, too.
Many travellers prefer packaged deals. If a certain operator offers a tour and/or activity you don’t have, then it’s best to partner with them and create a tour package that includes your product and their product for one set price.
You can also partner with hotels, gift shops, restaurants, breweries, wineries, cafes, and transportation providers in your area to create packages that complement your products or services.
This is a win-win situation for you and your partner as you can both promote each other while reducing your advertising costs and expanding your brand reach.