At TrekkSoft, we work with a number of destination marketing companies, from Visit Meteora to Tourism Interlaken. We know that DMO and DMOCs are the core of the tourism business in most communities. It's their support that can make all the difference in distribution, supply management, and valuable exposure.
Hotels and hostels around the globe rely on the partnerships they gain from destination marketing organizations (DMOs). But one of the most important relationships a DMO can have is with their local tour and activity providers. Here are three important things every DMO needs to know about its tour operators.
1. Local tour operators aren't your competition
Tour operators offer an in-depth look at your destination. They have partnerships with local tourism businesses and their collaborations can be a valuable tool. For some, it could be easy to look to operators as competition but according to insights by Think with Google, 85% of leisure travelers decide on activities only after having arrived at the destination. In other words, many travelers see tours and activities as an added value to a location, not the core reason they travel there. If you support your local tour operators, you have the chance to add value to your destination and make it look more attractive.
I Amsterdam does a great job of highlighting the tour providers in the area, making the destination easier for first-time travelers to navigate.
2. They need support, but they're not helpless
Naturally, a destination management company has a bit more exposure and access than any young tour company might. But that doesn't mean they're always superior. It can be easy to look at the DMO as the leader of the destination, but the relationship with local operators isn't as much of a hierarchy as it is a collaboration.
As a destination, you only stand to benefit from building effective partnerships with your local tour and activity operators. One of the simplest reasons is because they themselves are locals. They know the area and all that it has to offer.
Additionally, they probably have a broad range of partnerships with other businesses. As mentioned in our guide to creating successful business partnerships, networking is a vital part of having a successful tourism marketing strategy. The most successful businesses in the area are often the ones who understand how to build meaningful partnerships with other local businesses. By connecting with them and their contacts, you can partner with more businesses that want to support tourism efforts.
Tour operators need support from their destination to be successful because even though they may be able to draw in traffic from those who are interested in their style of tours and activities, without efforts from the destination, there isn't a way for customers to connect with these offers. The beauty of this relationship is that both parties have something to gain. In the case of the DMO and activities provider relationship, your success is their success and vice versa.
3. Communication is the key to success
There's no doubt that communication is important from all angles of a business. Given that tourism is so people-focused, you can't afford to avoid important conversations. This starts with the conversation between a DMO and its local operators, and it expands into the interactions both parties have with travelers.
Both the DMO and local operators gain insights into what tourists are looking for when they visit them. For example, both frequently hear questions about where to find a good place to eat and other activities in the area that could compliment what they're already enjoying there. Since 67% of travelers say they feel more loyal toward a travel company that shares information that improves their travel experience, you can work together to better understand what the most common needs and interests are for local travelers.
Sure, building a strong network and keeping up with communication will take time. But the ongoing dialogue you have as a result of starting these conversations together will be worth it as the profits from repeat business begin to roll in. You will successfully build a support system that boosts the region's economy, locals can feel proud of and involved in, and most importantly – delights travelers from all over the world.
Do you feel like your destination's offers are relevant to today's traveler? Find out with our latest DMO research.
Written by Sara Napier Burkhard
Sara is a writer from the American West Coast. In recent years, she's written for companies like Hipmunk, iTourMobile and Mylikes. She now resides in Zurich, Switzerland where she finds new adventures and attempts to speak German with minimal success.