DEVELOPMENT

TOUR OPERATORS

DEVELOP TOURS

 Many tasks must be executed in extranets to keep bookings on the boil. It's not necessary to update every product when you log in, but it is good practice to review overview content and layout, unique points, images, inclusions (avoid adding exclusions), schedules, prices, ticket vouchers, so on and so forth, whenever time permits.

 The OTA end game is utilizing all available optimization tools. You must stay streets ahead of the competition, especially in a marketplace that may offer 5,000 tours in your destination of which only 50 are adequate. Travellers will not scroll listings indefinitely.

 A typical product framework will have two dozen editable sections. Each one is important. Ensure that your main content is enriched with semantic text to bolster on-page SEO. This will increase the likelihood of being ranked above competing pages by Google and Bing.

 Outsourcing OTA development to us will maximize marketplace income so you can concentrate on core web business, not the least of which being time enough to work on getting more direct bookings.

 In tandem with our tour operator management expertise, we can guide your tours and activities towards becoming seriously competitive in your destination.

GOOD TO KNOW

SCHEDULES

 Venue scheduling does matter and we strongly advise against using the same departure times as competing tour operators. Stay away from peak popular times and depart a little earlier or later where possible. In tne end, client reviews will show appreciation.

 Travellers appreciate start times that avoid peak hours when the biggest groups gather as one at the same entrance. Pay close attention to what your competitors are doing.

 Meeting points are also relevant here. The more interesting the location (with a great view, beneath a column, beside a fountain), the more likely a traveller will book. Photograph meeting points that are scenic or picturesque, it will help fill your time slots. In effect, meeting point windows can become part of your tours.

✓ SCHEDULE = SELLING POINT

CUT-OFF TIMES

 OTAs push minimum cut-off times and call them "essential". For some tours it can be zero hours, while for others it's one day. What's the difference and does it really matter?

 OTAs want zero cut-off as default to make more money. For suppliers, it depends on the type of tours and activities offered and that's non-negotiable.

 If you are selling unsold venue tickets or last minute group availabilities, zero is ok. For anything else, don't fret about fine tuning your cut-off times, whatever OTAs say. You definitely know better.

✓ CONTROL YOUR COTs

S E O T A

 Creating an exciting new product is all fair and well, understanding how OTA techs connect your unique content to Google and Bing algorithms is another question entirely.

 When you update a product and then wait for the new information to go live (+/- 48 hours), it's beneficial to have a basic understanding of OG protocols, structured data, and how meta tags attract traffic to your OTA page, or should. For example, if you decide to update a title, Viator will not update the page url slug. Why?

 This is just one of several SEO issues that negatively impact upon Viator product pages, and a direct line to their tech team lead is required. We provide this, and we can go further by auditing all of your Viator product pages to identify areas that are in need of immediate improvement.

✓ META MATTERS

STAY ORGANIC

 Long gone are the glory days when quality and quantity of genuine TripAdvisor reviews put your tours on top of your destination. Now you need money to get more visibility, and if you partner with Viator, you must pay to create a product too.

 This modus operandi is completely at odds with the principle of fair trade. We advise every tour operator and tour guide to boycott Viator's new "Accelerate", (a misguided idea that drains even more money from small traders while back-scratching bigger suppliers). The same goes for "Special offers" (a shambolic waste of everyone's time). We have experimented with both on our own tours in Rome and neither are useful.

 Travellers are well-informed about their destination and they will search in depth for what they want to experience. You can take it from us that they'll skim past all the "top rated recommendeds" (paid promoted listings) to find genuinely great tours.

✓ DON'T PAY EXTRA

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