DMOs and CVBs know their territories. Tour operators know their customers. But do DMOs know how to best work with tour operators?
A fly on the wall offers these insights and reminders.
Do your homework. Know what your tour operators are selling—and know your tour operators. Introduce yourself. Introduce your location. Introduce your opportunities.
Tell tour operators what you offer. Get face to face at trade shows, and take time to find out what operators need and what you could do for them. Better yet, show them what you offer. FAM tours provide firsthand knowledge and a personal experience unmatched by any website or seminar.
Student market knowledge is a plus. If you have knowledge of the student and youth market, tap into it! Understand requirements and restrictions. Educate your associates, affiliates and properties on student market needs. Learn how to tie what you offer to the curriculum—often an asset in educators finding approval for youth travel, and often a reason the big cities are more easily traveled. If you're in a smaller or less-traveled city, introduce performance opportunities for student groups. A guaranteed audience for performers sells, as does your knowledge of what student and youth travelers need.
Learn more about the student market. Student and youth travel is a self-perpetuating market. To best understand and stay current with what educators, performance leaders and their groups need, attend their conferences and events.
Promote your accessibility. Are you an easy drive from a metropolitan area or region? Do you work well with smaller motorcoach groups? Is transport in and around your location simple and efficient, if groups aren't arriving by or traveling with a motorcoach? Let operators know what your area offers by way of public transportation or transport for hire.
Offer unique experiences. What does your location alone offer? What are some hidden gems or surprise opportunities for travelers? Make sure tour operators know what sets you apart from other destinations. Keep them interested. And ...
Keep them coming back. Set expectations with your tour operators, from the beginning. Meet those expectations. Manage and continue to deliver on those expectations. Build the trust, build the relationship, build the interest—and tour operators and their customers will stay interested in you.