As a travel advisor, you have access to suppliers located all around the world. From Tour Operators (TOs) and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) to Cruise Lines and Hoteliers, the list is virtually endless. Choosing preferred suppliers will help you hone in on your niche, but it will also create many different opportunities for your business. When you choose to work with a select few suppliers rather than working with the entire industry as a whole, you begin building and nurturing more meaningful relationships while increasing your sales volume.
When choosing preferred suppliers, the first step is to find someone that will be your main point of contact. In many cases, this is going to be the Business Development Manager (BDM), but it could also be a sales manager or an in-house/in-destination reservation’s specialist. The key is to ensure that you have someone that you can rely on to help grow your business and someone to turn to when you have an issue with your client’s reservation. You should also make sure they have a supplier emergency contact or an in-travel emergency team for you and/or your client to reach out to.
Cooperative (Co-Op) Marketing Initiatives.
The supplier’s job is to grow their business, and your job is to grow your agency. Many suppliers will help supplement marketing initiatives if it means increased business for their brand. This could be a shared expense toward hosting an event, sponsoring a booth, sending out mailers, or even just marketing through social media. This is where you can work with your supplier representative and get creative on different marketing ideas!
Incentives, Upgrades, Overrides, and Bonuses.
By working with preferred suppliers, you can typically offer your clients additional incentives, upgrades, overrides, and bonuses. BDMs can get very inventive when it comes to thinking of new ideas to generate business for both of you.
Think outside of the box a bit. Go grab a sheet of paper. Start making a list of different marketing initiatives you want to tackle for the year ahead.
Now, make a new list of the different suppliers you want to start partnering with (TOs, DMCs, Cruise Lines, etc.). Reach out to them and ask if they have a local Rep that you can partner with. Let them know about some of your ideas and ask if they have any they can share with you or partner with you on as well.
Don’t waste time on this one – get started today!