The Most Popular Distribution Channels for Tour Operators and Travel Agents
Are you having a hard time picking out the right marketplace for your tour operator business? There are so many distribution channels. How can you be sure which one suits your business?
It’s stressful, isn’t it?
Especially if you know you have to reach a bigger target audience. You’ve spent a lot of time creating and organizing tours, we get it. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Today’s consumer trends have shown that most people use online channels for travel research. Customers also prefer to book online. That’s why your online presence is so important nowadays.
If your tours aren’t featured on some of the biggest travel marketplaces, the odds that your potential customers will see it are slim to none.
Statistics show that distribution via OTAs and online travel aggregators only generate on average about 2% of total revenues for most tour operators.
Tour operators have to focus on:
- direct channel sales
- indirect sales
However, direct sales via your website aren’t going to cut it.
Why not use the help of third-party resellers?
What’s a distribution channel?
A distribution channel is a path through which goods and services travel from the vendor to the consumer or payments for those products travel from the consumer to the vendor.
Basically, it’s a “linkage of various combinations of organizations through which a producer of travel products describes, sells, or confirms travel arrangements to the buyer.”
How do I know which one is the right one for my business?
Here’s what you need to take into consideration:
- How many suppliers does the marketplace have?
- How many activities does it have?
- What kind of tours are posted?
- Commission costs
- Are you allowed to use their marketing and affiliate programs through your website?
- Will your listing be promoted through affiliate partners of the marketplace?
TripAdvisor is the most popular online travel and booking service with over 300 million users. It also serves as a distribution channel for third-party resellers.
So far, it has more than 200 worldwide booking sites and over 570 million reviews and opinions on it.
TripAdvisor is surely the best option if you are looking to reach a lot of people and attract more customers.
Keep in mind there are certain guidelines you must follow.
For example, to get listed, you must be a tour company and not an individual tour. Also, TripAdvisor can’t list a travel agency as a tour company. This can only be done it the travel agency has a valid tour operator license.
You can find all the details about tour listing guidelines here.
What might interest you the most is the “Pay for Stays” commission model.
“ Instant booking gives travelers all the information they need to book their stays with you immediately on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor collaborates with your connectivity partner to display your live rates and availability right on your listing page.”
FAQ: Instant Booking on TripAdvisor | TripAdvisor Insights
Millions of travelers can now book rooms directly on TripAdvisor. Instant booking gives accommodations an easy way to…
Viator is one of the most popular travel websites for researching and booking tours and activities.
Fun fact: The term “viator” is, in fact, a Latin word for “traveler”.
- It’s relatively easy to set up an account and promote your tours (30 min or less).
- There are no monthly account fees.
- Offers multilingual sites for affiliates.
- Viator has more than 3000 affiliate sites.
- Supports USD, CAD, AUD, Euro, and GBP currencies-
GetYourGuide is an online platform for booking tours, attractions, and activities.
They currently have more than 32,860 activities in 7,430 destinations around the world.
Airlines & Booking Partners | GetYourGuide
Find out why the most successful travel companies work with GetYourGuide to integrate and optimize the sale of tours…
Veltra is a travel platform with hundreds of tours and activities.
“Posting your business on VELTRA is 100% free. We do not charge any fees, and only take a mutually-agreed upon commission once a reservation is successfully confirmed.”
They offer more than 13,000 activities and their customers have left over 210,000 reviews!
Becoming a VELTRA Partner
With over 1,000,000 members, VELTRA offers more than 13,000 different activities in 113 countries, making it one of the…
Expedia gathers leading online travel brands. It has more than 200 travel booking sites worldwide with over 25,000 activities listed.
Maximise your site traffic! By joining the Expedia Affiliate program you will team up with the number one online travel…
Musement is a platform that provides local tours and activities that can be booked on multiple devices. Through their platform, they offer tour operators to create tour packages.
TourRadar is a service platform for the multi-day tour industry.
Booking Tours Made Easy — TourRadar
Partner with TourRadar to reach millions of people looking for travel experiences. List tours, collect reviews and be…
In order to get your listing here, you need to organize multi-day tours and have ready-to-book itineraries.
They have a standard service fee payable for all confirmed bookings.
There are a couple of ways you can post your tour offers on TourRadar:
- using a JSON / XML API feed,
- by using one of their existing reservation system partners,
- manually through the interface.
CityDiscovery is another online travel company with the focus on eCommerce sale of sightseeing tours, travel experiences and ground transportation.
The platform has 12 million website visitors per year and works with more than 16,000 travel agencies. They mostly specialize in one-day tours.
Check out City-Discovery.com solutions and advantages of being part of an extensive network of Travel Industry Leaders.
If your focus is the Asian market, Ctrip might just be perfect for you.
Ctrip is a Chinese platform for booking accommodation, transportation, tours, and activities.
What’s great about this company is that it offers a real-time reporting feature.
There are more and more travel and booking platforms every day. Which is awesome because tour operators can decide who to partner with. You could always post on a couple of platforms and track your sales to see which one suits your tour operator business best.
If you still can’t decide, why not establish and grow your own distribution network with Orioly?
Here’s a smarter way to sell your tours and activities, as well as manage your business!
Orioly is a booking and distribution software.
Our application offers a very easy-to-use and intuitive interface for you to manage your bookings, payments, deposits, track your sales with reports and analytics aaaaand most important of all, you can create and manage your tours and itineraries.
Also, with the distribution feature, you can create your own distribution network. This means you can add and manage agents, resellers, and affiliates.
The only thing you need is to add a Book Now button to your website and register for a 30-day free trial.