Did you know that Fall is one of the busiest times of the year for many traditional tour operators that sell to consumers through travel agencies and agents? In countries such as Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and Australia, this is the time for travel trade buyers to finalize next year's product offerings and itineraries, and advertise them through their consumer brochures.
For example, the German inbound market, one of the mature overseas source countries for international travel and the largest continental European feeder market for tourism to the United States, still primarily sells travel through retail agencies. Every year, these tour operators release extensive USA product catalogs with opportunities for destinations to feature their products over multiple pages. The catalogs include an overview of a destination, hotel listings, activities and images to inspire travelers to visit a specific destination, with millions of copies being distributed across a network of more than 12,000 travel agencies. According to data by the National Travel and Tourism Office, 2.03 million travelers from Germany came to the United States in 2016, and this accounted for 2.7% of all international travel to this country.
So, in order to see sales from this market, it is key to work with tour operators on product placements in their print catalogs. But space is tight for being listed in the catalogs, which creates a highly competitive environment. Therefore, to ensure your product or destination is included in the catalogs of tour operators, it is important to begin the dialogue with product managers early on in the season. When you begin your conversation, be sure you understand the business model of the tour operator; and know what receptive operators they use to source products; show a solid understanding of how your service or destination can be integrated into their existing itineraries; outline how new itineraries could be built around your offerings, and how it would benefit the consumer, as well as the travel trade buyer.
Excerpt from FTI's USA catalog
Since tour operators have to manage thousands of products – think hotels, activities, transfers, flights and much more - you will need to ensure that all details regarding your services are easily accessible and all contents are readily laid out for them. So in order to successfully and accurately market your product, be sure to have product descriptions readily available, preferably in different character lengths and in in-language. Ensure high-resolution images, typically in horizontal formats, can be shared with the tour operators easily, for example via free tools such as DropBox, along with any mention of copyrights. Your logos should be available in a variety of file formats and dimensions to ensure a comfortable fit within the printed marketing collateral of the tour operator. Plus, have all processes and logistics worked out involving the booking, reserving and paying for your products, as well as the process involved in having their clients experience your service.
In return for being organized and working closely with the trade on getting your products listed, your brand will enjoy vast international marketing exposure of your brand to consumers and the trade. And what’s even better, your product information will be displayed in-language to ensure overseas customers fully understand and appreciate your offerings, and will make them a part of their itinerary. To learn more or to join us on one of our sales mission, email Stefan Merkl.