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3 types of partners you should work with to scale-up your distribution efforts

Posted by Nicole Kow on May 6, 2016

The tourism industry is filled with opportunities to scale up your distribution efforts, and one way to do this is by partnering with another company. But who should you work with? You need to be strategic in choosing a partner because it ultimately reflects on your business. 
 
Typically, the best and most reliable resale agents include DMOs, fellow tour and activity operators, and hostels. Here's a rundown on why you should work with them and what you can do to get the ball rolling.
 
1. DMOs
 
Destination management organisations are akin to the large corporations of the tour and activities industry. They are responsible for marketing your destination to the world, and have large amount of funds to do so.
 
The advantage of working with them is that your reach increases almost exponentially. It is in their interest to sell more tours and activities, so they will make sure to market your products as best they can. But with all this money being invested, they tend to be picky about who they work with and a simple exchange of services won’t suffice.
 
To set up a reselling deal, you’ll have to incentivise them with a compensation package (which can be established within your account if you’re a TrekkSoft customer). Since DMOs also work with many different tour and activity companies, you need to prove that your company is reliable and can consistently deliver great quality products.
 
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2. Other tour and activity companies 
 
Fellow tour and activity operators are also a great option for reselling tours. A quick way to rule out questionable companies is by having a look at their website and their online reviews. Just like how your customers would use these channels to assess you, you too can use these platforms to assess other companies.
 
When contacting tour or activity companies in your destination, be sure to differentiate between your companies to show how working together can complement each others’ businesses. Depending on who you approach, a commission or fixed compensation might be enough to incentivise them to work with you.
 
In other cases, a kind of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” model might work better. For example, you might feature them on your site and they could do the same for you. 
 
 
 
3. Hostels
 
When considering potential resellers, you should think about your desired target audience. Hostels are great partners because many of their customers are looking for "things to do" during their stay. However, since tours and activities are not the core businesses of hostels, it may take more effort and convincing to get them to promote your tours.
 
Like before, the incentives you provide, i.e. compensation or exchange, depends on the hostel that you want to work with.
 
You should also consider working with Airbnb operators, find out how in this article
 
 
How to make the first pitch
 
Once you’ve got a few companies in mind, it’s now on you to reach out and make the first move. But before you do, bear in mind that your approach to building a relationship with various partners depends on their core business. How can you add value to them? Structure your elevator pitch around your value add and rehearse this before making your move.
 
In our books, nothing beats an ‘old-fashioned’ phone call. Not only is a phone call more personal, but it also shows that you're serious and you mean business. Give a brief introduction of yourself and your company, then pitch why they should work with you. Keep your pitch short. You can get into the nitty gritty details once they’ve replied with interest.
 
Finally, it is important to maintain a solid relationship and have frequent check-ins to ensure that all parties are satisfied at all times. 
 
What do you think about these suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 
 
 

At TrekkSoft we live and work in the heart of the tour and activity industry. Request a software demo with our team in Interlaken, Switzerland and learn from our expertise:

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Nicole Kow

Written 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.

Topics: Business advice

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