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Once you are ready to share your tours and trips with the world, you need an effective distribution channel. Distribution channels are the ways your tours and trips get to your customers.
There are two ways of reaching customers in tourism:
- Directly – In a travel agency or through a travel agency’s website.
- Indirectly – Through a partnership with third-party distribution channels.
Not only the right distribution channels for tours and trips will assure better exposure for your tour company, but it will make you more credible. So, it’s important for a tour company to be listed in the right places.
As a tour company owner, you can increase your profits just by choosing the right distribution channels for your tours and trips. That’s how important they are.
The emergence of technologies, such as the development of online social networks, online review sites, mobile location-based services, has added additional channels of distribution. The awareness of new opportunities within distribution channels for tours and trips is essential for tour operators and travel agents in order to remain competitive and successful. So, let’s break down those distribution channels for tours and trips.
The Best Distribution Channels for Tours and Trips
We’re highlighting five distribution channels for tours and trips, where a tour company should be, to stay competitive.
1. Tour company’s website
When was the last time you didn’t start planning a trip online? Not for a long time, right? It’s obvious, the internet changed the traveler’s behavior. The time from finding a travel inspiration to packing your bags for a new travel adventure has never been shorter. And travelers love it!
That said, we can guarantee that remarkable tour photos published on your tour company’s website will attract curious eyes. Videos from the trip you share on social media profiles will bring you sales too! So, don’t forget to post tour photos and videos on the tour company’s website and social media.
At the same time, you can integrate an online tour booking system to your website. That way your future customers can easily book a tour with you. Did you know that in 2016 $565 billion worth of travel was booked online?! Nowadays, travelers start and finish their travel arrangements online. It is a direct distribution channel for tours and trips that companies are able to optimize, and it is commission free!
2. Google My Business – a Must for a Successful Tour Company
Google My Business is one of the most important indirect distribution channels for tours and trips. A tour company listed with Google will improve the tour company’s SEO ranking. Another benefit you’ll get is exposure of your tour business on Google Maps. All relevant details, such as opening hours, or a contact number, included.
3. Connect with Hostels & Tourist Information Centers – Sell More Tours and Trips
After checking-in at a hostel, visitors often ask an employee at the check desk for a tour recommendation. Hence, tour and activity operators can benefit from a partnership with their local hostel.
Travelers who are not staying at a hostel usually seek information in a tourist information center. So, it would be wise to contact your local tourist information center and see how you can partner with them.
Tour companies usually drop off flyers and brochures to hostels and tourist information centers. And interested travelers will call to set up a reservation with your tour company. Now you know how important it is to stay in good grace with the front desk and to develop perfect relationships!
4. Review Sites Will Make or Break Your Tour Business
Is there a traveler who hasn’t heard about TripAdvisor? I don’t think so.
Depending on the reviews you get, they will either make or break your tour business. All your marketing efforts won’t be able to reverse negative effect of a couple of negative reviews. On the other hand, not so much marketing effort will be needed if your tour business has hundreds of positive reviews. The reason behind this is that only 14% of consumers trust traditional advertising, while 92% respect reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor. So, you better be good!
5. Drive Tour Business Through Online Travel Agencies
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are powerful distribution channels, boasting more than 515 million average monthly visitors to their websites. OTAs will list your tours and trips on their site and allow their users to book with you. Usually, this works through a pay-per-click format. But it might worth the money since the recent findings show collective gross bookings via OTAs rose 31% on the year. The top 3 global OTAs are:
There are also many less known, local OTAs. Consider partnering with them, too.
Benefits of a Booking Tool for Automated Distribution and Channel Management
Finally, an effective distribution channel for tours and trips can be a source of strategic advantage for your tour company. It takes a bit of time to figure out which one works best for your tour business. However, starting from enabling direct online sales through a tour company’s website is always a good practice. Because today’s customers are online. So, they expect that you’d be there, too. A good tour booking system will definitely help you with that.
What are the distribution channels you find the most suitable for your tour business? Feel free to comment right here or contact us privately!