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How to make the right connections and find the best partners to increase revenue

The Bókun Team • November 10, 2022

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We are not alone in this world. This applies to life and to your tour operator business.

We’ve seen and experienced this first hand! Our most successful operators seek to capitalise on building mutually beneficial partnerships with other businesses to reach new customers and drive bookings. It might seem contradictory to partner with the ‘competition’, but in actual fact, it’s an incredibly valuable form of marketing.

Why partnerships matter

Partnerships are important in all industries, but they play a particularly critical role in tourism.

Provided you connect to the right partners you will gain the ability to reach wider audiences, increase awareness, excite interest, and convert it into action that can otherwise be a significant challenge. The most successful companies build bridges and create new exciting opportunities, with their hand-picked partners. Wider collaboration is becoming more and more important.

Business partnerships are a great way to actively support the local economy and other small businesses in the area too. A destination in which travel businesses all work together ultimately creates a more tourist-friendly environment as services can be booked together meaning travellers can have a more tailored experience. This in turn will actively attract more business for yourself and your region. Win-win!

All partnerships yield opportunities for long-term growth. Your company can’t grow without new offers or products and if you’re not ready to expand your own products, you can find new fitting tours and products offered by other suppliers or sales pools with resellers from a location you may not have explored yet.

What kind of partnerships are out there?

  • OTA partnerships — These are valuable partnerships formed with online travel agents, such as Viator or Expedia.
  • Offline partnerships — These are traditional partnerships formed with local entities, such as visitor information centres or tourism bureaus. Your partners might not be online bookable yet.
  • Local partnerships — These collaborative partnerships formed with other local tour companies allow travellers to book package or combo deals. This is the partnership we are going to take a closer look at.

Reseller or Supplier – find the right fit for you!

Not every reseller or supplier might be the partner that is best for you. Here are some tips and tricks on what to look out for:

Self-analysis – Identify gaps and opportunities

Relationships get off to a good start when partners know themselves and their industry and any existing gaps. Consider what is missing from your offers in the area and check how other suppliers could contribute to enriching your experiences. Did you consider any changing industry conditions? Seek a partnership that would help you both in creating a whole new experience together.

An example: If you offer a half day tour through the vineyards, but don’t offer food with it, why not try to find a restaurant or food services you might be able to partner with.

Compatibility – Work towards a common goal

These can be common experiences, values or principles. Maybe you already know the company you wish to partner with, or maybe they are new. A common goal helps align a shared vision and staying on the same path.

Any partnership, big or small, will work best when there is a shared goal. Establishing a common purpose sets the foundation of your partnership, such as: Providing the greatest experience for your guests!

Chemistry – Communication is key

Deals often create trust and rapport between your admins or the operational user of your business. Open and effective channels of communication between the members of the partnership or alliance will ensure there are no miscommunications and misaligned expectations. This will enable both teams to bring the best of their talent and strengths forward.

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Why not stay local?

New products and improved customer experience

Partnerships can assist in developing new tourism products, based on local skills and resources, thus enhancing the product offering for guests.

Staff morale and customer satisfaction

Guests are interested in the campsite partnership and other local linkages, and ask how it all came about. They might be interested in hearing other options for a specific tour.

Brand enhancement

Your brand will get additional exposure in your own region and city. The more people know that you’re offering tours in an area, the more potential interest is generated.

Benefits for communities

Partnerships also bring training, expertise, exposure, and the potential to develop the destination. Further local partnerships may lead to an exchange of tourism know-how that both parties may benefit from.

Travellers today want to be able to instantly book their experiences, as this is both convenient and efficient. By using an online booking software that allows customers to self-book at their own pace, you’re leveraging your overall customer experience and most importantly drive more bookings more effectively.

Bókun is an online booking software built specifically for tours and attractions operators. Bokun’s full-service software can help you streamline and digitise your operations to help you easily manage your business—and in turn, provide a better experience for your travellers.

Bókun has the largest global B2B marketplace for tours and activity products. We provide suppliers, resellers and affiliates a platform where they can do business directly with one another. Propose a contract online and start selling in minutes.

Suppliers are becoming resellers via Bókun’s Marketplace. They bundle their products with other suppliers, cross-sell the products of others and have others resell their products. Affiliates and resellers use Bókun to access real-time availability of their suppliers and manage their bookings and contracts.

Start finding the right partnerships for your business and grow your revenue by signing up to Bókun today for a 14 day FREE trial.