What it takes to be Travel Trade Ready
Northwest Territories Tourism coordinates many international programs that require tourism suppliers to meet specific criteria to be considered for participation. These conditions are based on the input of overseas travel trade, tourism product suppliers and receptive tour operators; and have been developed in order to ensure the best possible representation of the NWT's tourism industry in international markets.
- Suppliers wishing to wholesale their product must be able to demonstrate an adequate knowledge and understanding of the roles played by Wholesalers/Tour Operators; Receptive Tour Operators (RTO's), and retail travel agents. This includes an understanding of rack and/or retail pricing, commissionable and wholesale net rates.
- Interested suppliers must be prepared to provide detailed pricing and program information a minimum of one year – 18 months in advance of selling season, i.e. May 2012 for the summer/fall 2013 season.
- Wholesalers/Tour Operators will expect wholesale/net pricing. The supplier must be willing to provide contracted net rates. As a general guideline, requirements are:
- 15% off the retail price for day activities and transportation. (Net 85)
- 20% off retail pricing for accommodation (Net 80)
- Receptive Tour Operators (RTO) will your sell your product to Tour Operators overseas, acting as an expert "Middle Man" and will require slightly better pricing to cover marketing costs and commissions to international tour operators.
- 20% off retail pricing for day activities and transportation (Net 80)
- 20-30% off retail pricing for accommodations (higher discounts are common for volume production). (Net 80/Net 70)
- The supplier must honor contracted net rates and until the expiry of the contracted agreement.
Proven Track Record & Safety
- The supplier must be in business at least one year, with a proven track record for safe and professional operation
- The supplier must carry adequate insurance (example: minimum $3 million liability insurance for an adventure product supplier is recommended. TIP: Discuss this with your receptive operator; sometimes they can add suppliers to their existing policies at nominal cost).
- The supplier's business and required operating licenses must be current.
Inquiries and Reservations
- The supplier must be prepared to accept reservations and deal with inquiries by telephone, fax or internet on a year-round basis.
- The supplier must be prepared to respond to inquiries and confirm bookings arrangements within 24 hours.
- The supplier should be able to provide travel trade and media client's high resolution images, or standard computer format images of the product or operation. These are for use in brochures, promotions and editorials.
- Suppliers should be prepared host Wholesalers and Media representatives for "Familiarization Tours" to promote export ready product.
Contracting and Payments
- Once negotiations are complete, a formal, duly signed contract is required to confirm the agreement. Suppliers are expected to be able to generate a Wholesale contract that confirms rates, seasonality, cancellation/deposit policies, allotments, etc.
- It is the responsibility of the supplier to set up billing arrangements with the operator, agency or receptive tour operator.
- The supplier must accept client vouchers as confirmation of payment for reservations, when requested.
- Invoicing operator for payment to be remitted within 30 days is standard practice. Due to high costs, it is not practical for an international operator to provide separate deposits and/or payment for each booking.
Recommendations for Best Practices
Though the following suggestions are not essential criteria for participating in NWTT's international marketing programs, many of our most successful tourism businesses have incorporated these elements into their marketing and operations strategies:
- Develop a website offering information on your product.
- Determine business priorities in terms of group or FIT business. If you plan to pursue group business, consider access by tour buses, parking/turnaround areas, washroom facilities etc. Determine your minimum and maximum group size.
- Provide support (free or deeply discounted rates) for travel trade familiarization tours and a "media rate" for media familiarization tours.
- Consider attending travel trade shows involving international buyers, either in North America or overseas.
- Consider the inclusion of receptive tour operators in your marketing and sales plan, and implement a regular sales call program for these companies if you decide to use this distribution option to develop your international business.
- As your business grows, consider expansion of your sales call program to include overseas contacts as well as Canada or US-based receptive operators.
- Produce video footage of your product or operation for promotional and training purposes.
- Invest in the NWTT Travel Trade programs and stay abreast of their on-going activities
- Regularly research target markets through NWTT and CTC websites and newsletters
- Be prepared to adapt to uniqueness of certain overseas markets. Flexibility may be required with regard to last minute bookings and changes, dietary requirements, cultural differences.
- Where possible frontline staff that speak the language of the markets you are interested in pursuing.
- Where possible provide brochures and documentation (waivers, etc) in foreign languages.
- Commit to a minimum number of departure/operation dates. International operators are not likely to offer brochure space to a product that operates only 2-3 times per season.
- Provide transportation to/from a nearby gateway for international clients. Overseas visitors rarely have their own transportation, so you will need to provide transfers or public transportation advice from the nearest airport or train station.
- Provide all necessary equipment needed to participate in your program. Overseas visitors do not normally carry their own sleeping bags, fishing rods, etc.