Sometimes the potential for bookings from your local area can be overlooked. We have put together some tips to help you develop relationships and look for opportunities in your own backyard.
The ability to view available activities in the area can be a valuable source of bookings, if you just make people aware of the realtime option.
1. Partner with local accommodation establishments, & restaurants
No one books a holiday just to sleep, no matter how fine the linen is. Most guests want to do something, or at least eat something during their stay!
It very useful to develop relationships with the owners, managers and staff at hotels, guest houses and restaurants in your area and work on opportunities to market your activity business to their guests. Options could range from adding your information and a link to their website and Facebook page; to agreeing a referral commission for bookings; to working together to create joint promotions, specials and packages, especially during low season; or simply regularly stocking your brochures in their racks (and theirs in yours).
In fact, we are so passionate about accommodation and activities working together that we spent two years developing ActivityBridge with the idea that you, the activity provider, should have the opportunity to promote activities in your area by being part of accommodation’s online booking process. They are incentivised with a commission per booking for each of your activities booked.
The link between the NightsBridge booking form and the ActivityBridge automated booking facility is currently live.
2. Network with other activity businesses in your area
Developing a referral network with other activity establishments in your area is also beneficial. This provides you with options to recommend to your customers as well as the opportunity to get recommended, often for an agreed commission, when the other establishments cannot accommodate the enquiry.
3. Keep in touch with local businesses
Develop a list of local businesses and organisations that may need activities for colleagues and other guests. Do you have business parks, corporate companies, large franchises in your area? Get in touch with the person responsible for making activity bookings or referring visitors and find out how they make their decisions. If they are able to make bookings directly with you, show them how to find your availability via your website.
You may want to provide a special rate for regular bookings. You can create a login for tour operators where you can attach a special rate so that when they log in, they see their own rate, rather than the rack rate. Ask us if you would like this set up.
4. Use local media to promote your business
Most towns have websites that provide information about the area and include listings of activity businesses. Passionate locals often regularly update these sites regularly and listings are often relatively inexpensive.
You should also connect with local businesses via social media. Posting pictures, specials and updates on local accommodation and business Facebook pages will help promote your business. If you are on Twitter you should tweet about your activities, mentioning other local businesses, to create a buzz.
5. Join your local tourism or business association
If your town has an active tourism or business association, it can be beneficial to your business to join. These forums often provide good networking opportunities. They are also platforms to ensure that key items that affect the attractiveness of your area for visitors (and locals) are in place. These include issues such as street cleaning, safety, parking and traffic issues.
Working with partners and businesses in your town and area may not always deliver substantial or immediate results but developing these relationships is key to the long-term success of your business.
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