Recently, Bartercard published the first of three articles on the changing face of tourism, and this second article talks about the beneficial cultivation of direct consumer business. Direct consumer business can be an effective part of an operator’s sales mix as it offers increased operator control of the total customer experience, allows operators to avoid commissions and is one of the better yielding businesses.
In the era of OTAs (Online Travel Agents), expansion in the direct market hinges on offering the customer additional value over and above the sheer convenience of the OTAs. This additional value is particularly important for repeat customers. Through direct marketing campaigns, operators must personalise their message and offering, promising to meet the unique requirements of specific individuals and offering services not available through OTA channels. Operators must also implement systems to gather and analyse their revenue and customer data, develop customer relationships with previous guests and harness social media as a marketing tool.
For many operators, a combination of direct consumer business, traditional wholesale relationships and OTA bookings will ensure that they trade at good occupancy levels with optimal profitability. Successful operators will focus on achieving the optimal ratio of business and performance across different distribution platforms.
Fast-growing Australian aggregator of closed-user groups, ubookdirect, provides a viable alternative distribution method through a ‘members only’ online travel platform, offering well priced holiday packages with personalised service to corporate members of private closed-user groups. Their system helps hotels distribute excess inventory without diminishing returns from traditional open market sales channels, allowing them to reach new consumers on a ’below-the-line’, password protected platform.
Another alternative distribution channel is IncentiaPay, a quickly expanding group of companies that strategically combines rewards, deals and incentives via multiple transactional platforms in nine countries, linking customers with small and medium sized businesses on a global scale. Although its business spans many industries, IncentiaPay has seen rapid growth in its travel, tourism and leisure divisions.
Bartercard Tourism has hundreds of resort and accommodation members at destinations worldwide that welcome visitors on Bartercard, and accept a cash-alternative currency of Trade Dollars. By spending Bartercard Trade Dollars instead of cash, hotels and resorts have saved millions on expenses from renovations to maintenance and equipment, so for more information on Bartercard for better business results, how Bartercard works, gaining new customers, and improving your cash flow please go to www.bartercard.co.nz .