When to partner with other tourism-related businesses?

Felipe Fonseca

Content Marketing Manager at Orioly
Twice graduated and an avid explorer of the world. Felipe dropped from engineering to venture into digital marketing and content writing.
Felipe Fonseca

Latest posts by Felipe Fonseca (see all)

If you are a tour operator and:

Do you feel that your business isn’t growing as much as you would like it to? That all the effort you have been putting in advertising seems useless? That you are overwhelmed due to promoting and running your business at the same time?

If your answer to one of those questions is yes, maybe it’s time for you to find a business partner.

The story of Hansel and Gretel

Hansel is a tour operator with his own tours and activities.

Being in the tourism industry for more than five years, Hansel is a little bit upset. He had great plans for his business, but he is still struggling to make it grow.

On the other side of the city, Gretel has had the same business model for only two years.

The difference is that Gretel has been growing and scaling at a much faster pace than Hansel could ever have imagined when he started operating.

woman-happy-with-new-tour-partner

Her secret?

As soon as she started, she made online, offline, local, and international partners. Now she can barely handle the huge demand for her services and products.

So you must be thinking, why doesn’t Hansel do the same?

Unfortunately, he is an old-fashioned entrepreneur who just complains about commission rates and doesn’t see any value in partnering with other businesses. He wants to do everything in his own way…

Don’t be stuck to commissions when you are willing to grow

Hansel has a wrong view about commissions and that has been limiting his business’s growth.

If you think that paying commissions is a rip-off, you are like Hansel. You see it as a cost, not as an investment.

man-counting-money-to-pay-partner

Remember that you are not the only one who has marketing expenses.

If a third party is selling your tours and activities, it pays for advertisement somehow. Furthermore, you are borrowing someone’s valuable customer base, which is an investment in itself.

In any case, you are saving your marketing budget and relocating this expense to someone else.

Knowing that makes paying commissions a little bit more tolerable, doesn’t it?

But of course, you must discern an abusive commission from a fair one.

If your partner has a huge customer base, is spending a lot on advertising, or has good know-how in marketing, maybe the commission paid is worth a higher value.

Otherwise, think twice.

The sky is the limit when you have partners

Soon, Gretel discovered something important for business: partners lead you to consistent growth.

By partnering you amplify your sales channels, outsource your marketing efforts and protect your business from market changes.

Take this data into consideration:

  • Bookings made directly via operator websites went from 79% in 2017 to 67% in 2018.
  • The percentage of total bookings going to online marketplaces increased from 3.2% to 9.1%.
  • Bookings made through agents, affiliates and local tourist offices also increased from 17.5% to 24.3% from 2017 to 2018.

The tourism market is a living being that is constantly changing and partners are a safe haven.

Hotels, hostels or motels?

Now that you know all the reasons for partnering, it’s time to choose your new fellow.

When it comes to the tourism industry, you have all sorts of potential partners. They are literally everywhere. Online and offline.

signs-representing-partener-choice

Let’s start with the offline ones.

Here we have traditional hotel concierges and travel agents. Not so common but worth a try, you can also partner with DMOs and other tour operators.

Offline partners are limited in audience range, but they can bring you the most valuable clients: people who are looking forward to doing something memorable at your location.

Special attention to DMOs. Unlike the others, they have a bigger marketing budget which gives them more visibility. I would say DMOs are a key partner for your business.

In the online world, we have OTAs, bloggers, and influencers.

With their massive investments in digital marketing, OTAs will put you in front of large audiences worldwide. Nowadays they are a must in your strategy.

For niche markets, take a look into bloggers and influencers. They are assertive when it comes to reaching specialized audiences and bringing you loyal customers.

Of course, the right partner for you will depend on your current operational capacity and how likely you are to attend the needs of those new customers.

Check this post regarding partnering ideas if you are excited about the ones I just presented you.

Keep growing, keep it tight

After reading this article you will become addicted to partnering, and soon you will have a bunch of partners to handle.

Congratulations, now you have a new problem…

Making a lot of partners means that you must manage all of them. Please, don’t use Excel, it will drive you nuts. Not to mention that you have your own business to run and after a while, you will be just as stuck as Hansel is.

But how to manage all those people? You might ask me.

Lucky you, I have already thought about that.

You need a tool that allows you to manage all of your partners one click away. That provides you with all the data you need to track their sales and commissions. Plus, it features an exclusive marketplace with local and international partners for you.

Yes, I am talking about Orioly. Your future online booking software and channel manager.

Don’t be like Hansel. Try it for free now and see for yourself how easy it is to run your business and grow with partners.

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