In 2018, Explore Marketing will once again lead a number of sales missions to New York City, Florida, Europe, Asia, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. On the New York City Sales Mission from March 19 – 22, we will make 16 sales calls with receptive tour operators (RTO) and wholesalers responsible for selling U.S. to international markets from across Asia, Europe, Australia and South America.
For those who are not familiar with RTOs and their role in product development, here is a quick snapshot of why it is important for suppliers of travel services to work closely with them. Receptive tour operators are wholesalers of tourism products to international tour operators, and hence play a significant role in the process of product contracting and management, as well as the development and execution of tour packages. For this reason, international tour operators and travel agents rely heavily on RTOs and utilize them to handle all their onsite operations. In addition to accommodations, sightseeing services, attraction tickets, and rental cars, RTOs also offer a variety of other ground services such as pre-arranged and customized escorted group tours, MICE itineraries, and multilingual step-on guides.
Therefore, it is important for suppliers to build a strong relationship with RTOs, and have products contracted and available for sale through them. This will help to streamline distribution channels for suppliers; plus RTOs can function as an extension of sales and marketing teams, as they tend to be the first point-of-contact for overseas tour operators and travel agents. Indeed, many tour operators and travel agents will insist on sourcing your products through RTOs, as they themselves wouldn't be able to contract all travel experiences on their own.
To ensure RTOs are fully able to sell your products, it is crucial to have fast response times to any of their inquiries and to equip them with tools such as net rates and retail pricing tables, product descriptions, high resolution images, and any logistical information, such as opening hours, capacities and location details.