Looking to accelerate your tourism marketing? One way is how effectively you manage your travel partnerships with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and partners. These groups are a compliment to your business growth, they can help you grow as long as they are win-win for you. The travel industry has to be collaborative to survive. Travel partners are essential. They can help you run your business more effectively, open you to new guests, and sharing resources. These could include local partners, wholesalers, regular travel agencies and Online travel agencies.
Make no mistake, these partners are not your primary business, they are your competitors too. It’s about striking the right balance with these partners because there are a number of negatives with working with this, such as
-The risk is: what would happen if those partners closed shop tomorrow? A big piece of your business would disappear overnight and you won’t be able to make that up with direct bookings or have another partner to replace those losses. At least in the short term
-These travel partners already impact the power of your branding - because you play a back seat role to their brand as those guests bought their brand not yours- so growing your brand becomes more difficult with these clients (but not impossible)
- And of course, your margins - as they take away as much as 10-30% from your revenues.
My point here is that you need your brand to stay in the driver's seat. Growing your business, your website and direct bookings guests should be your primary task.
I’ve witnessed many tourism businesses as a marketer and a full-time traveler that slowly stop managing their direct bookings business entirely. Let's face it this industry is busy -- and your focus can move to other things
These watch-outs are all unfortunate ways to lose guests and get bad reviews.
The benefit of maintaining your owned-assets is that you have 100% Control.
Your website is a great example of this because:
Here’s the interesting things about your guests:
-Many potential guests may still visit your website or your social mediums Facebook page even though they book through an online travel site of course when it's accessible to find you online or on social media.
This is because of a few reasons:
They are doing extensive research for a vacation, not just a day trip
There are many travelers out there that do like to book direct – so why not make it easy for them?
To maximize your direct bookings --- You need an action plan in your marketing plan every year.
You need to know what % of your bookings are direct vs indirect so you can work towards a better % that works for your business.
There are a number of simple strategies that you can do step by step to entice travelers to book direct with you.
So travel partnerships are key! If you found this video helpful join our community here at Travel Life Media.com and subscribe to our many free marketing resources for tourism brands like yours.
Dorene Wharton is a tourism strategist, marketer, coach and full-time traveler with a 25-year career working in all areas of marketing and sales. She left her corporate job with Fortune 500 hospitality brands to start Travel Life Media to help hotels, tour, attractions and event companies improve their marketing, live their brand with a purpose and make money.