General Distribution Pillar
Understand distribution channels
Distribution channels are the links between your business and your customers. Understanding distribution systems, rates of commission and the roles of various booking agents is essential for a successful tourism business.
If you currently only sell directly to customers, consider expanding your distribution channels to include third parties. Third parties reach more of the target market, have bigger budgets, and often you don’t pay unless you make a sale. Know who your customers are and where they come from: are they domestic, international, Free and Independent Travellers (FITs) or groups?
There are two ways of reaching potential customers:
- Directly – targeting customers directly without intermediaries. Through advertising, brochure distribution, your business website, social media and customer referrals.
- Indirectly – targeting your customers through third parties and tourism distribution channels including retail and online travel agents, wholesalers, inbound tour operators and visitor information centres.
Register your business with ATDW
Registering with the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) is essential for general online distribution. Once your ATDW listing is activated your business will be published to over 200 online distributors.
This is a requirement for your business to appear on the Tourism NT consumer website, northernterritory.com. NT RTOs also populate their websites with products from the ATDW database.
As a NT tourism operator, your ATDW listing is fully subsidised by Tourism NT.
Distribute via your RTO
Your RTO offers membership options for you to advertise in its VIC.
Opportunities can include:
- Brochure display
- Big screen digital advertisements in the VIC
- Poster advertisement opportunities
- Brochure display from a mobile VIC trailer
- Your business location on free visitor maps.
There are four VICs across the NT, located in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Darwin. VIC digital touchpoints are located at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre and Kings Canyon Resort.
Engage in Familiarisation Tours
Familiarisation tours (famils) are an opportunity for you to showcase your product to VIC sales agents, retail travel agents, wholesalers and media so they can experience your product first-hand, improve their knowledge and sell your product with confidence. Famil experiences are usually offered at a discounted rate or free of charge (FOC) at your discretion.
Famil visits that Tourism NT and Tourism Australia put forward have already been evaluated for their suitability to the NT as a destination and your product. You don’t have to wait to be contacted to take part in Tourism NT’s famils program. Share information on your product or business with Tourism NT so that we’re able to ensure travellers know about the unique experiences available to them in the NT.
You may consider site inspections to allow participants to assess an event venue, meeting location or accommodation provider for inclusion in their NT product offerings.
Attend Trade Shows and In-Market Events
Each year there is a busy calendar of trade shows and in-market events for you to consider attending as part of your distribution strategy. Trade shows provide an opportunity for you to meet with potential buyers from travel wholesalers.
Attend trade shows annually to launch new product, update buyers on product enhancements and to maintain your professional relationship with your buyers. Investing in trade shows for a return requires a careful understanding of what potential buyers expect from you, preparation of your product pitch and your post-trade show follow-up with buyers.
By diversifying your distribution channels your business will grow as a result of increased bookings.