When it comes to creating a distribution strategy, it isn't a case of setting it up and forgetting about it. In fact, as your company grows and changes, your tour and activity distribution strategy should be constantly evolving too.
Here's an insight into distribution for different stages of your business, whether you're just starting out as a tour and activity company, you're growing fast, or you're a DMO looking to drive tourism to your destination.
1. Distribution for a just-starting-out tour and activity company
For new tour and activity companies, there are a few things you should put at the top of your to-do list.
Once you've made your business plan, you've found your niche, and you've defined how you'll be creative, it's time to get that website up, running, and open to the world. It's also a good idea to think about user experience on your website from the start.
As we cover in our first distribution ebook, Marketing 101: How to Build Your Online Presence, it's worth getting on social media at an early stage too.
Don't feel pressured into using every social network out there: you'll get better results from figuring out the 2-3 channels that really suit and work for your business. Today, common favourites are Instagram and (still) Facebook. But there's always something new you can try...
2. Distribution for a growing business
Once you're accepting online bookings and you're reaching targets, it's time to think bigger.
As a growing tour and activity business, you should start thinking about online travel agents (OTAs). These include sites you might have heard of like Viator, GetYourGuide, and Trip4Real among many others. We'd recommend you work with 2-4 to start with.
Here's some of our best advice for tour and activity providers wanting to get more bookings with OTAs:
- 10 tips to make more money with OTAs
- Why tourism companies should work with online travel agents (and how)
- Distribution tips: Pros and cons of working with distribution channels
Top tip: you might also benefit from a channel manager to help you manage all of those distribution channels in one place. Here's what TrekkSoft's looks like:
3. Distribution for a destination marketing organisation (DMO)
If you're a DMO, distribution will look a bit different from that of a tour and activity company.
You might be interested in becoming a marketplace so you can sell local experiences on your website. Fjord Norway and Visit Cornwall are just two examples who have done this with TrekkSoft.
One of your other goals might be to encourage your local suppliers to use a booking engine – and cross-sell and collaborate amongst themselves. For this, a Partner Network feature can come in very handy.
A few closing pieces of advice
Whatever stage your business is at, you need an online booking system and channel manager that grows with you, right?
This is why TrekkSoft booking and management software is available with four subscription plans that cover a range of features and distribution capacities.
Find out how to access the tools you need to take your distribution strategy further
Written by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy is Head of Content Marketing at TrekkSoft. She tries to read a book a week, travel solo every month, and share ideas on lucyfuggle.com. You can usually find her in Switzerland's Berner Oberland.