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Increase Online Bookings With Partnerships & Resellers

Last updated on February 12, 2021
12 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • How to choose the right resellers.
  • Partnership options from the FareHarbor Distribution Network and Software Partner programs.
  • Understanding APIs and how to connect to OTAs.
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Skill Level

Beginner, Intermediate
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Marketing your tour or activity company and growing your business can be a challenge in a constantly evolving industry. Between managing employees, responding to customer reviews, and making your tours or activities the best they can be, it’s normal to feel like there just isn’t enough time to focus on additional ways to sell activities.

FareHarbor’s wide network of partnerships offers additional opportunities to increase online bookings so you don’t have to go it alone! From affiliates and online tour agencies (OTAs) to other resellers around the world, FareHarbor helps you sell your tours and activities in a variety of places, increasing online bookings and giving you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to:

  • Choose resellers
  • Join the FareHarbor Distribution Network
  • Work with OTAs to increase online bookings

Keep reading to learn about pricing, API connectivity, and everything you need to know to grow your business through partnerships and resellers.

Understanding Resellers

One of the best ways to increase online bookings is by partnering with an affiliate or reseller, any person or company that resells your tours and activities. They can be another local business, a hotel concierge desk, a blog, a traditional travel agency, or even an online travel agency (OTA).

There are many benefits of working with an affiliate or reseller. If you have excess inventory, or spots on your tours that you just can’t seem to fill, working with affiliates will help you fill these availabilities and increase your revenue without upping your workload.

Affiliates also have a wide reach and offer your business the opportunity to target a broader audience or market than you might normally have access to. Affiliates spend a lot of time and money investing in getting their customers to their websites, which means more eyes on your business.

How to Choose Resellers

Choosing who to do business with is no easy decision, and there are many factors to consider when determining which affiliate is right for you. Start by focusing on:

  1. Your location
  2. Who you want to sell to
  3. How many customers the affiliate attracts

Location

As in real estate, location is everything in the travel and tourism industry, since many travelers book experiences like tours and activities when they’ve already arrived at a destination. Knowing this, it is important to market your activities where you know your target audience will see them. A hotel concierge desk is great for finding customers who are already on the ground in your area and ready to book a tour. Similarly, if there’s a local business that draws a wide audience, or an OTA that’s specific to your region or location, you have a better chance of reaching people who are traveling near your business.

Audience

You should also think about where the affiliate’s guests are traveling from and what specific markets the affiliate sells to. For example, if you want to target out-of-state guests or certain groups of travelers pay attention to the kinds of customers the affiliate already works to see if they would be a good fit for your tours and activities. If you prefer to focus on family outings or experiences that cater to an older demographic then an affiliate whose tours typically attract large groups of young travelers may not be the right fit for you.

Reach

On a more general level, it’s important to select a reseller that attracts many customers. You want as many eyes as possible on your tours and activities, so choose a popular affiliate to boost your marketing efforts. While there’s something to be said for niche software that focuses on a small market, consider the potential to reach a large audience when choosing a reseller.

Finally, one of your most important considerations is the commission rate, the percentage of the activity price that will go to the affiliate. Working with a reseller is all about striking a balance so you don’t break the bank. Average commissions range 20% of your retail price or higher according to Arival. Think about how the relationship with the reseller would benefit your bottom line and how much business it would bring to your company. A commission rate is a small price to pay for increased bookings, new customers, and a growing market.

How to Use API Connectivity to Your Advantage

Once you’ve gotten set up with a reseller or affiliate, you want to know that your bookings are all ending up in one easy-to-manage place, whether they were made on your website or that of an affiliate.

That’s where FareHarbor’s Application Programming Interface (API) integrations come in! They connect one platform — an affiliate — to another — your FareHarbor Dashboard — so you don’t have to worry about manually entering bookings from a reseller. All of the important booking details, like capacity, manifests, and more, are communicated between the two, so you can sell your tours and activities across multiple channels with ease.

FareHarbor’s API connectivity optimizes the way you work with OTAs. If you’ve already decided that working with an OTA is right for your business, our API integrations allow you to fill excess capacity in your activities while seamlessly linking our platform with that of an OTA so that all the key information you need is always at your fingertips.

Want to learn more about APIs?

Connect directly with major OTAs like GetYourGuide, Expedia, Viator, and more. Bookings flow directly from their websites into your FareHarbor Dashboard with no manual entry required on your part. This connectivity allows the OTA to pull availabilities from FareHarbor and send bookings and cancellations to FareHarbor.

Benefits of APIs

The main benefits of API connectivity include:

  1. Ease of operations
  2. Real-time availability, and
  3. Capture in-destination bookrs using flexible booking cutoffs

Ease of Operations

All bookings are located centrally in FareHarbor, so even if the booking came from an OTA, you can still view your manifest and customer information all in one place, and changes to an activity’s online booking status in FareHarbor are automatically reflected in the API-connected platform.

Real-time Availability

API connectivity shows real-time availability to your customers. Someone who books on a third-party website will only be able to book the number of spots that you have available at a certain time or date, so you don’t have to worry about manually tracking bookings.

Capture In-Destination Bookers

Since you’ll never be at risk of overbooking, you can target in-destination customers who are hoping to book at the last minute, giving you access to a new type of customer and letting you fill availabilities.

Eager to get started with the API program? View our list of current partners.

Join the FareHarbor Distribution Network

The FareHarbor Distribution Network (FHDN) offers another opportunity to increase your bookings. It allows businesses to resell each other’s tours and activities, providing a wide network of potential resellers and opportunities for growth.

A distribution network is made up of all the affiliates and sources that a company can take bookings from. When your company works with many different affiliates, you broaden your distribution network and open up more opportunities for customers to book a tour or activity.

FareHarbor’s expanding distribution network gives your company access to a wealth of potential customers. Choose to have other FareHarbor clients resell your tours and activities, resell their tours and activities on your website, or do both!

diagram

There are many benefits when you join the FHDN. You’ll get more bookings since the network will help you reach customers who wouldn’t necessarily land on your website organically. Similarly, you’ll get more repeat customers, since affiliate bookings appear as regular bookings in your Dashboard and save your customers’ contact information for future marketing efforts.

If you choose to have other FareHarbor clients resell your activities, you’ll pay a 20% commission fee (and you’ll earn a 15% commission fee if you’re reselling activities from another client). But you don’t have to worry about planning payments, as FareHarbor will handle the billing for you. As another perk, you get to avoid those painful contract headaches. We’ll take care of setting up affiliate contracts for you.

The FHDN gives you access to a wide variety of resellers like hotels, travel sites and blogs, airlines and other transportation companies in your area, and visitor centers or city guides. All of these different channels help market your tours and activities and your destination to lead to more bookings. Reaching a larger audience gives you a competitive advantage and more exposure in the industry.

Enhance Your Business With Software Partnerships

While affiliates, resellers, and the FHDN increase online bookings directly, FareHarbor’s Software Partnerships team works to connect clients with complementary systems that address their operational needs that fall outside of a ticketing system.

diagram

We close these gaps and manage relationships with all non-distribution partners to help you with everything from managing online reviews and sending out liability waivers to enabling web chat and tracking conversions through Facebook.

One example of a software partnership you can use to enhance your business is Podium, a review management system that notifies you about new reviews and lets you respond to customer comments in one place. Another example is SmartWaiver, an electronic waiver company that lets your customers access waivers to complete before their tour or activity and saves them so that you can access them for future reference.

Read more about FareHarbor’s Software Partnerships to get a leg up in managing all aspects of your business.

Next Steps

Whether you want to join FareHarbor Connect (API program), or the FareHarbor Distribution Network, marketing your business through resellers will lead to more bookings, better exposure, and fast business growth, and FareHarbor is here to help!

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