3 Ways to Benefit from Strategic Partnerships

Destination marketers and travel suppliers sharing their product with wholesale product managers during a recent  Fire Starter Brands sales mission . 

Destination marketers and travel suppliers sharing their product with wholesale product managers during a recent Fire Starter Brands sales mission

It's no secret, strategic partnerships are the key to helping a small and medium sized business succeed in a saturated marketplace. In my work with destination marketers, attractions, restaurants and hoteliers around the world, I make a point of telling each to work on strengthening their local partnerships. Here's why...

3 Benefits of Strategic Partnerships

Combined Knowledge...

Long before wikipedia there were communities of scholars who, understanding that they could achieve more by working together, would gather to share ideas, work on common issues and discuss the problems of the day. Many shared their knowledge by writing what they'd learned and building great libraries. 

Building strategic partnerships with other, likeminded professionals can benefit all involved. From each other, we can learn about industry standards are, determine what the best practices may be and identify opportunities to better serve our customers.

Shared Expenses...

My company helps a lot of clients develop, plan and deliver their direct mail campaigns. Many of the same people who ask for met company's help in identifying the right recipients and message also are the same contacts who are tasked with producing a wide variety of printed and promotional needs for their companies. Over the years, I've built a great working relationship with a wholesale printing partner. He's someone I've referred a lot of my clients to and we've worked together on a number of projects. Naturally, when the time came for me to send a piece of my own marketing material, I called my printing partner and, since we share the same prospects, we are able to share costs on a co-branded promotional campaign. 

If there are businesses or organizations that offer services or product that compliment your own, there's a strong possibility that you can achieve a stronger return on your investment by working together. Some of the strongest partnerships I've seen are those between a local attraction and a neighboring hotel, the DMO and local hotel chain, a group of attractions from the same area, etc. Partnered organizations can share booths at trade shows, advertising space and, in some cases, even trade show registrations. 

Shared Leads...

You can spend tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to figure out what companies are doing business in your area. If you've built quality relationships with your local partners, you'll be able to save yourself a lot of hassle. Partners can offer referrals, suggest related product and even make introductions that will help everyone involved. 

Whenever sharing leads, it's important to keep the customer/prospect's best interest and your company's privacy policy in mind. Share leads only with those that the customer has expressed interest in hearing from. Ex: "Would you like me to share your number with ___ from the facility next door?" Offer referrals when you think may be interested in learning more about your partners. "Thanks for choosing our company. Be sure to check out ___ nearby; they've got a great service you will love."

How have you benefited from your business partnerships? What advice would you have for others? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

About the author...


Stephen Ekstrom is a well-recognized tourism marketing authority whose influence reaches over 500,000,000 travelers every year. He's been profiled by the New York Times and appeared on CBS, NBC and NY1. He is a trusted fixture in the travel trade and has served as a board member, expert panelist, committee chair, mentor and program facilitator. Fire Starter Brands, founded by Ekstrom in 2010, manages a network of nearly 5,500 opted-in global travel trade buyers, advising and assisting smart travel industry suppliers and destination marketers. Stephen currently lives in South Florida with his two dogs, Match & Rudy.