Ever wondered what a truly successful distribution strategy looks like? First off, it should align with your business goals and objectives, both in the short term and for the future.
Take a look at how your distribution strategy is performing every 3 to 6 months and evaluate how each component of that strategy is performing. Tweak and adjust things to make sure you continue heading in the right direction.
Here are 5 things to look out for in an effective distribution strategy.
1. You're not relying on just one distribution channel
You've got multiple distribution channels both online and offline. Some online channels include your own website with booking and payment capabilities, as well as partnerships with OTAs. Offline channels include partnerships with businesses that compliment your tourism products.
In a recent Spotlight interview with Pearl Island Bahamas, an island operator in the Caribbean, I found that the company partnered heavily with cruise companies to get their tourism products in front of their target market. They also partner with local hotels in the area to amp up their marketing efforts.
They also simplified admin with a booking management software that allows their partners to view their live inventory and make a booking directly into their system without the need for additional emails, phone calls and memos.
2. You're gaining more exposure than before
Are you getting more exposure than before? You can measure this based on the number of website views, social media views and enquiries you're receiving as these are common touch-points for potential customers. If you're getting more enquiries than before, it's working.
Bonus points if you are able to track where your enquiries are coming from so that you can analyse those figures to find out which channels greatly impact your overall bookings.
3. You're gaining more new bookings than before
Apart from a spike in website traffic and enquiries, you can also use your bookings to measure the effectiveness of your distribution strategy. Which distribution channel are you getting most of your enquiries and your bookings from? What about your conversion rate? How many enquiries or views turn into actual bookings? How can you improve this?
If you find that a specific channel is not performing as well as you'd hope, or if the outcome does not reflect the money you're putting in, it's probably worth re-evaluating that distribution channel.
4. You've got a great follow-up system to keep customers coming back for more
You've spent a lot of money, time and energy getting the attention of your customers and now that you've got it, you need to keep it. The most valuable customers are the ones who keep coming back for more.
Keep them interested in your brand by staying in touch with them through monthly or quarterly newsletters. Intrigue them with new product offerings or recommending them a tour or activity they've yet to try out. Entice them with discount codes or vouchers so that they can redeem it or pass it on to friends heading to your destination.
5. You're favoured over your competitors
Finally, an effective distribution strategy should make your company stand out from your competitors. Many of our customers say that by simply having an integrated booking and payment system on their website already sets them apart from their competitors. Others say that being active on social media and building a strong brand on their website is key.
Find a way to differentiate your distribution strategy from your competitors'. Find an edge that sets you apart from the competition and keep evolving your strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
What did you think of this article? Do you have any other tips to creating a successful distribution strategy?
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