Affiliate sales & ‘up-selling’
Your business is part of a travel ecosystem
As with most industries globally, businesses exist as part of an ‘ecosystem’, playing an important role, but only a part of the customer’s needs
As a vehicle needs fuel, a home needs furniture, and a mobile phone device a WIFI or cellular network, so too does the traveller need transport, accommodation and experiences to make up their journey.
eCommerce has made it easier than ever before to distribute products and services, and especially more so when the delivery of that product or service remains the preserve of the operator. This has led to a ‘blurring of the lines’, and questions being asked about the role of traditional distribution, agent led networks.
Travel has been one of the most disrupted industries with the advent of the digital age. The biggest changes have resulted from the provision of information, the way it is arranged / displayed, and the distribution of products and services.
Add to this the low barriers to entry: anyone can build a website and attempt to be present. This has put pressure on margins, commoditising the lowest, non-differentiated (ie: poor proposition) services.
The owners of businesses in travel and tourism with money invested in hard assets such as vehicles, equipment, bricks and mortar are fighting to increase their margins and reclaim their margins given up to the distribution networks.
Thus, the drive to online bookings with renewed vigour, globally.
Online buyers today are not new to the game, they’re seasoned. This has moved the goal posts yet again: only being present online does not guarantee sales anymore and is not the key to competitiveness.
One of the strongest trends witnessed today is the ‘affiliation’ or ‘up-selling’ trend. A hotel knows its customer needs a transfer, may need a flight, and in leisure destinations requires experiences. Likewise, experience providers know that their customers need transport to the location of the experience, a flight company knows its customers need accommodation, transfers and will possibly even buy an experience.
Taking advantage of this trend, made stronger by buyers being happy to shop in one place, businesses in travel are not only growing their own website stickiness, but also better servicing customers AND opening new revenue streams through the shared commission models typical in these situations.
Hotels, Experience / Activity providers, Car Hire and Transfer companies, as well as airlines are perfectly positioned to ride the opportunity, and now have access to technology previously not available due to cost and its complexity of use.