How To Sell Travel Packages: B2B vs. B2C

How To Sell Travel Packages: B2B vs. B2C

For tour operators, how to sell travel packages is a question of whether to sell B2B through travel agents or B2C direct to customers. Each approach can certainly present unique challenges and opportunities for operators. The travel industry is undergoing major shifts in how travelers are looking for and booking their travels. With the dominance of digital media and abundant resources online, customers are more often booking their tours themselves online. This is a great break from the traditional method of going through a travel agent, as travelers are looking for more personalized and unique experiences. 

Though B2C travel has surged in popularity, that doesn’t mean that tour operators should neglect selling to travel agents. Travel isn’t going anywhere, and consumers are still using travel agents to find and book their trips. Each way to sell travel packages comes with its own set of factors, but the bottom line is this: tour operators that can sell to both have many more opportunities to diversify their offerings and grow their tour business. The ability to successfully sell travel packages B2B and B2C comes down to having the right software and understanding the benefits and drawbacks of both.  

How To Sell Travel Packages: Challenges in B2B Sales to Travel Agents 

In selling B2B to travel agents, tour operators are dependent on intermediaries. While this provides access to a broader customer base, it also means tour operators are dependent on the effectiveness of these agents in promoting and selling their packages. 

Negotiating fair commission structures with travel agents can also be challenging. Striking the right balance between offering competitive commissions and maintaining profitability is a task that requires careful consideration. 

Managing communication and coordination with multiple travel agents is often complex. Keeping everyone on the same page regarding updates, promotions, and changes in itineraries requires efficient systems and clear communication channels. 

In a B2B model, a tour operator’s brand may take a backseat as the travel agent becomes the face of the product. Maintaining a strong brand presence can be challenging when customers associate the experience primarily with the travel agent. 

How To Sell Travel Packages: Opportunities in B2B Sales to Travel Agents 

Partnering with travel agents allows tour operators to tap into an established network they might not otherwise have, reaching a broader audience than they might on their own. This increased reach can result in more bookings and exposure. 

Travel agents also bring expertise and local knowledge that can enhance the overall customer experience. By leveraging the expertise of these agents, tour operators can offer more comprehensive and tailored packages. 

B2B relationships often mean lower marketing costs for tour operators. Instead of investing heavily in advertising and promotion, they can rely on the marketing efforts of their travel agent partners. It’s a win-win! 

How To Sell Travel Packages: Challenges in B2C Sales Directly to Customers 

Acquiring customers directly requires significant investment in marketing and sales efforts. From digital advertising to content creation and social media management, tour operators must allocate resources to build brand awareness and attract customers. 

Even more difficult, building a direct-to-customer model demands a robust strategy for customer acquisition and retention. Earning customer trust and loyalty in a competitive market is an ongoing challenge. 

Managing the entire customer journey, from booking to post-trip feedback, can be operationally intensive. Tour operators must invest in efficient systems to handle reservations, customer support, and feedback. 

How To Sell Travel Packages: Opportunities in B2C Sales Directly to Customers 

Direct B2C sales allow tour operators to have full control over their brand identity and customer interactions. Building a strong brand presence can lead to increased customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals. 

Tour operators can receive direct and immediate feedback from customers, enabling them to make quick adjustments to improve services. This direct line of communication enhances customer satisfaction and helps in refining offerings. 

By selling directly to customers, tour operators can explore additional revenue streams such as upselling personalized experiences, merchandise, or other services, increasing overall profitability. 

How To Sell Travel Packages: The Right Tour Operator Software Solution 

Given the complexity and differences in selling B2B vs. B2C, tour operators that choose a comprehensive software solution will be able to more easily and efficiently sell more trips to both travel agents and customers. Something that many tour operators neglect to consider is how to keep passenger information safe but still accessible to travel agents.  

With Softrip, there are 3 user types that can help tour operators control and manage who sees what information. This customization ensures that when they sell to both travel agents and direct customers, they can make that process easy and seamless.  

Internal Users: These are tour operator employees that have access to the entire reservation system. They can see all passenger details, documents, and reporting functions for both travel agents and direct customers. 

Travel Agents: This user type is restricted to only their passenger information. Within the system, they have access to Softrip reservations, documents, and reporting, but aren’t allowed to see any other reservation information, keeping passenger details safe and secure. Information like travel agent commission can be easily hidden. 

Direct Users: These are the direct customers, passengers who book travel through the tour operator’s reservation system. Direct users will only be able to see their booking and reservation information, with no other access to the system.  

By having a platform that can provide the right levels of access while keeping passenger information secure, tour operators can use a travel booking software like Softrip to expand their offerings and do more in less time through a comprehensive, streamlined system.  

Choosing between B2B and B2C sales models is something for tour operators to consider, especially when it comes to having the infrastructure to support both. While each approach presents its own set of challenges and opportunities, successful tour operators can often find a balance that aligns with their business goals and customer expectations. No matter what tour operators decide when it comes to how to sell travel packages, Softrip can provide support for reservations, product management, operations , CRM & marketing, reporting & task management, integrated payments, accounting, and GDS integrations. See how it works by scheduling a personalized demo!