Selling Through Agents is the second piece in our four-part series, Ways to Sell, exploring the different resell opportunities for operators to tap into through Zaui, and sell more of their tours and transport experiences.
In the previous post, we provided a quick introduction to the three ways to sell your tours and transport offerings on Zaui.
Selling through agents is a time-tested sales strategy of tour and transport operators. As the direct point of contact for in-destination visitors, agents are trusted partners of travellers with significant influence over their travel decisions.
Agent affiliates will help you reach a larger audience and gain more bookings. However, it is no easy feat to establish and maintain partnerships with agents.
That’s why Zaui is equipped with features to simplify reselling by automating the agent relationship and booking process. However, before we get down to the nitty-gritty of agent bookings, let’s have a closer look at why you need agents, and how they fit into an online distribution strategy.
Who are Agents and Why You Need Them
An agent is a reseller’s employee who sells your activities. For example, if you partner with a local hotel in your area, the hotel concierge becomes an agent by making bookings for their guests on behalf of your tour or transport business. Consider them an extension of your reservations team.
Agents become an indispensable part of your marketing strategy because of their reach and credibility. They have a better understanding of your potential customers. With extensive on-the-ground experience, they know the right experiences for their guests, and they make the recommendations accordingly.
In-destination bookings are often driven by agents. For travellers, a hotel concierge, travel agency or visitors’ centre is a go-to trip planner because of their expertise in the local area.
Hotel concierges can often have the final word for overwhelmed and confused in-destination travellers on where to go and how to travel around in the city. So, a partnership with these agents will help expose your business to more people and fill up your remaining, available spots.
Agents strive to improve their customers’ experience by offering them the best. Their reputation relies on what they recommend to their customers.
In gaining an agent’s trust, they will be more open to promote and sell your tours, activities, or transportation services to their guests. Eventually, they will become your in-destination brand ambassadors, driving more referrals and revenues to your business.
How to Sell through Agents on Zaui
The traditional phone calls and paper bookings make agent partnerships difficult at times. It can often be time-intensive and stressful with a heavy load of paperwork and payout calculations.
A booking management system simplifies the process of booking by automating your relationship with agents and payouts. With a reservation system in place, agents can provide instant booking confirmations and finish the booking process in no time.
For starters, Zaui offers three booking methods for agents to book for guests:
- Through Zaui Core: This is helpful when agents want to call or email to make a reservation. Agents will inform your staff when they want to make bookings. Your staff can then enter guest details, provided by the agent into the Zaui system.
- Through Online Agent Login: It is the easiest way for non-employee agents to make bookings. Agents can self-serve by logging into the Agent Login panel (via the Online Booking Engine), browsing available tours and booking on behalf of their guests.
- Through Agent Affiliate Link: A unique link for agents to self-serve and book for their guests. The link and conditions are preconfigured with the appropriate commission and wholesale rates. Agents won’t even need to worry about logging in to the Agent portal or calling in, making the entire process both fast and easy.
💡 Zaui Tip: Agent reservations through the online booking engine are highly recommended as it saves your staff time. In addition, it reduces any availability delays between a reseller’s phone or email request and a booking being made on Zaui.
Direct login will also allow you to get the agent booking history, which will be helpful while reviewing your sales through agents.
If you are excited about the simple and straightforward agent booking process, you might be curious about how automated payouts work in an online booking management system.
How Payouts Work in Zaui
Zaui makes the payout calculation simpler for you by defining the relationship with agents in two ways:
- Commission Sales: In this scenario, a reseller makes the booking directly via the supplier, and the supplier collects the payment from the guest. The supplier then pays the reseller a commission of the booking made. Agent bookings are often commission-based.
- Wholesales: A reseller makes the booking and collects the payment on behalf of the supplier. But, instead of payment, the reseller gives the supplier a voucher, which is a reference number. The supplier later invoices the re-seller using the voucher minus agents’ cut.
It means that in a wholesale relationship, the supplier will not get the payment at the time of booking. In contrast, in commission sales, the supplier receives the total amount with the reservation.
Introducing Rate Codes
In the Zaui system, rate codes decide the amount a reseller earns when they sell your activities. This can be a percentage of the total cost or as a flat rate per unit sold.
As you enter into a partnership with an agent, you’ll need to determine whether it will be a commission or wholesale relationship. After that, you’ll simply need to update it on your Zaui system and set the rate codes for payouts to be auto-applied on checkout, ensuring proper compensation for your agents.
Agents are an accessible sales channel for operators to adopt, especially if you’re just starting out in the world of reselling. Its proven effectiveness gives your business better exposure and attracts more guests. Building relationships with agents could also boost your credibility and reputation as a leading operator in the area.
We will soon dive deep into the world of OTAs, the world’s largest marketplace, explaining how you can leverage them to amplify your business even further. Stay tuned!
If you are an existing Zaui user, connect with our Customer Success team to fully leverage agents reselling channels.
Excited about the possibilities of partnering with agents? Connect with Zaui experts today to schedule a demo to learn how Zaui could help you simplify partnerships with agents and get you more bookings.