by Stephen Ekstrom | President & Founder Fire Starter Brands
Travel suppliers are not the only ones whose businesses are subject to seasonality. Tour operators often shift their focus throughout the year to address the different needs of their business. As we look for ways to be better marketers and travel industry sales people, it's important that we understand this seasonality. So let's take a look...
While they may always have their eyes open for new product to include on tours, there's a time of year when operators are specifically working on new itineraries, themes, packages and product they intend to offer.
This time of year tends to precede the delivery of their marketing collateral - catalogs, brochures, website launch, etc.
During this time of year, you want to be sure that you are giving operators the information they'll need to price your product in to the packaged travel, visual aides to help them entice customers and support materials they can use to engage with their customers.
Use this time of year to connect with operators on a personal level, host site visits, fam tours and walk-thru experiences.
At some point, the tour operator is tasked with selling new tours to their customer base. Now would be the best time to deliver strong calls to action and powerful reminders of your products ability to suit their needs.
This is generally not the time to launch an aggressive telephone sales campaign. Time spent on the phone with suppliers is time they're not spending bringing in new sales for their companies.
Now that the trips are confirmed, operators must book the individual components. It's also a great time for suppliers to reconnect with operators, ask for the sale and be ready to help where others may be dropping the ball.
When the groups are traveling, tour operators are putting out fires. They're learning which elements of their tours are working well and which will need to be adjusted during the coming year. This is a great opportunity to fast-acting suppliers to 'save the day' by being a trusted local resource and offering solutions to those challenges that arise when passengers are on the road.
While nearly 70% of tour operators work for small businesses that function in this way, there are exceptions. Those exceptions are mostly operators who function as wholesale, online and F.I.T. sellers. Because of their size, customer and lack of the typical "peak" travel season, many of these companies have shifted the same seasonal needs into job functions handled by certain employees with a focus on product development, fulfillment, marketing/sales and customer support.
For more information on how Fire Starter Brands can help you develop and execute a strategic tour & travel marketing plan to reach these tour operators, request a free consultation today.