Oct 10, 2018 |

How a partner network can bring destination success

We’ve been writing a lot recently about marketing for Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). You can check out our free eBook ‘The Destination Marketing Handbook’, which is filled with useful tips on how to market your destinations and experiences.

Skift recently published a blog titled '4 Trends Defining Tourism Marketing in 2018.' Dan Peltier wrote, ‘We’ve seen a lot of tried-and-true marketing tactics from destinations this year, but we also saw some newer, smarter strategies on how to use the masses of content and opinions available these days, thanks to social media.’

One trend in the article stood out as an excellent marketing strategy for destinations. It's easily achievable, makes business sense, and surprising that more destinations are not utilizing opportunities to collaborate.

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Published by Nicole Kow | May 2, 2018 | | 4 MIN READ

What you need to build a marketplace to resell tours and activities online

For companies looking to expand their businesses, there are a few ways you can go about this. Firstly, you could start upselling your tours and activities by encouraging people to purchase add-ons at checkout (e.g. insurance, meals, photo packages). Secondly, you could increase the number of trips you sell by working with online travel agents and third party marketplaces. Thirdly, and the focus of this article, you could resell trips from other suppliers and make a commission off each sale.

If you have an established website with a good and steady flow of organic traffic, this could be a good option to take your company to the next level. 

 

Jumping off a cliff

 

How to resell tours and activities?

Reselling tours could be a profitable revenue stream, especially if you're tech savvy, familiar with SEO, paid ads online and various digital marketing tactics. While you might need to invest money and resources into building your reseller platform, hiring more marketing expertise, it can bring a higher return on investment than increasing the type of trips offered or the volume of trips delivered.

To be clear, you will not be able to compete with large OTAs like Expedia Local Expert, TripAdvisor Experiences (previously known as Viator), or even Airbnb Experiences. They have a large marketing budget and highly skilled employees who can, and probably will, outbid you for every search term you might be considering.

However, if you can carve a niche out for yourself, either by lifestyle (where you resell trips to a specific niche) or by region (where you resell trips in your destination).

Three companies come to mind as I write about these different niches.

Outdoyo is a Dutch-based platform that caters to adventure travellers around the globe. Throughout the years, they've built their platform to resell all sorts of adventure activities from horse riding to ice climbing to paragliding in 8 countries. They work with TrekkSoft to power real-time availabilities from suppliers around Europe. 

Wild Trails, on the other hand, is a tour operator and reseller based in Israel, mainly reselling trips from suppliers around the region. They have recently expanded their offerings to also include adventure trips in Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia and more.

Shorebee, a DIY platform for cruise passengers to plan and prepare their own shore excursions, also use our reselling features to promote shore excursions in popular destinations like the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Olympia in Greece and Barcelona in Spain.

 

Uploading inventory to marketplace

 

Whose tours and activities to resell?

First and foremost, you need to find suppliers who are a good match with your brand. Do their products compliment your other listings? Do they have the same company values as you do?

Secondly, you want to work with partners who hold the same standards as you do. You don't want to be listing the tours of a company who doesn't seek to deliver the best trip possible.

Picking the right suppliers to work with is important because your customers will most definitely remember the platform or marketplace they used to book the trip. If they have a good or bad experience, it's your marketplace they will tell others about.

 

What tools can you use to resell trips?

Once you've defined your niche and found the right suppliers to work with, what tools will you need to simplify this working relationship?

As a reseller, you'll need a system that allows you to check with your suppliers if they can accept a booking on a given time and day, confirm (or reject) the booking with your customer, and finally process the payment and pass on the earnings (minus your commission) to the supplier.

Doing this entire process manually via email and phone calls, and repeating it for 10, 15, 20 resellers (or even more!) can quickly add to your workload and distract you from building your business and increase admin cost.

 

Partnership 

The Partner Network is perfect to connect with other TrekkSoft users

At TrekkSoft, we have a built-in API connection between all TrekkSoft users and we call it the Partner Network. To cut down on admin, you could connect with other TrekkSoft users and enable the Partner feature to cross-sell your trips. You and your partner can select which products to sell, agree on a commission and activate the API connection by exchanging your unique partner codes.

Finally, embedding your partner's "Book Now" button on your website is easy. Simply generate a code for a booking widget and paste it on your site.

Honestly, if I can do it, you definitely can too.

(Click on the button below to see what the booking widget looks like!)

 

Book Now!


From there, bookings received on behalf of your TrekkSoft suppliers will be recorded in both your reports and will appear in your suppliers' booking records.

 

Use Managed Merchants for suppliers who are less techy

With the same API technology, we also created the Managed Merchants feature to allow suppliers who do not use TrekkSoft to upload and sell their trips on your marketplace as well. 

Managed merchant visual (2)

 

As the reseller, you will hold the "Parent Account" and can have as many Managed Merchant accounts tied to yours. Only you can resell their activities. Your suppliers can use a Managed Merchant account to upload their inventory, add prices and schedules, and share their availabilities with you. They will be sharing their inventory via the same API connection that forms the Partner Network.

While a Managed Merchant account has limited functionalities (i.e. they can't set up their own agents or upload their tours on other marketplaces), they will have access to their booking records and sales reports to keep track of sales and commissions. 

 

Tourists 3

 

Set up Split Payments to automate payouts

All TrekkSoft users are supplied with a TrekkPay payment gateway and all users on the Partner Network have access to our Split Payments feature.

This feature essentially splits each payment made from a customer into the commission owed and the remaining income made from the booking. The commission will be automatically paid out to you while the remaining funds will be paid out to your supplier. 

Read more: Two ways to easily collected payments from your customers


 

TrekkSoft can help automate a large bulk of the back office management and give you more time to focus on building your brand.

We have the tools to help with:

  • Real-time availabilities
  • Supplier management
  • Sales and commission tracking

Apart from niche and regional marketplaces, we also many destinations using TrekkSoft's Partner Network to cross-sell partner trips, with Interlaken and Fjord Norway among the most successful regions to date. Incoming tour operators like UpNorway, Norway Adventures and Bergen Basecamp are also eager to get more suppliers on board to streamline backend management while increasing booking volume. 

 

Compare Viator (TripAdvisor Experiences), Expedia Local Expert, GetYourGuide and Airbnb Experiences all in one place

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Nicole Kow
Published by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.
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