Once you've enabled online bookings on your own website, you've made the most important first step for attracting the growing majority of digitally-savvy consumers.
However, only distributing tours and activities on your own website can be a risky strategy. Although OTAs (online travel agents) will charge you a commission, they provide you with a level of exposure that's hard to come by on your own site.
If you do decide to take advantage of the traffic that OTAs receive and distribute your tours on them, there are a few things you should know to save time and boost efficiency. So, without further ado, here are our best tips for managing your distribution more effectively.
1. Use a channel manager to save time and increase exposure
A channel manager is a key tool for keeping distribution simple. With a channel manager such as TrekkSoft's, you can manage your distribution channels in one place and easily stay on top of bookings. Simply look at your channel manager and you will see your bookings from channels including OTAs, point of sale, partners and agents, and your own online booking system. You can also use the TrekkSoft Channel Manager to quickly adjust your capacity across all channels if your availability suddenly changes.
Wondering which OTAs are worth being active on? Two channels we'd recommend that you sign up with are Viator and Musement.
2. Keep things up-to-date with live inventory
One of the main advantages of using a channel manager is live inventory. This allows you to distribute only your available tours and activities and keep your availability up-to-date on all channels. This allows you to maximize revenue and prevent embarrassing overbooking incidents: the last thing you want when you're increasing your distribution efforts.
3. Minimize admin with real-time pricing
Choose a channel manager with real-time pricing and you'll avoid the hassle of having to make alterations on individual OTAs. Not only is double data entry boring and time-consuming, but it also doubles your team's risk of manual error. Your channel manager should also permit you to launch a last-minute sale on an OTA: a smart strategy if you want to sell more quickly than you could on your own website.
Want to read more about OTAs and distribution?
TrekkSoft customers in 129 countries benefit from our integration with Viator, the world's top online travel agent, to maximise their exposure and get sold on TripAdvisor. We caught up with Ken Frohling, VP of Business Development at Viator, to get his thoughts on what makes an effective distribution strategy. You can read the interview here.
Download our OTA comparison report of Viator, Expedia, GetYourGuide and Airbnb: