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Visit Scotland | Alba
Top: Matt Davis
Right: Glen Ord Distillery / Jakub Iwanicki

Develop and grow your business

Engage with the travel trade to sell your product

Before going on a journey to develop and grow your business, there are many factors to consider...
  • Understanding what type of customers you’re looking for i.e. families, individuals, groups, high value, volume.
  • Which markets best fit your product e.g. your tour, attraction, B&B, etc, including quality expectations from that market?
  • Do you have capacity/space to accept more customers? When are your quiet times?

Understand your customers

How consumers plan and book their travel varies from market to market. Many elements will influence their decision-making process such as their familiarity with the destination, the type of holiday (once in a lifetime, short break, family vacation or a business trip) including cultural norms with regards to holiday booking and planning in their country.

Because of this it’s important to understand how your potential customers are planning and booking their holidays and the distribution channels they will seek out to inspire, plan and book; from search engines and large tour operators to their own personal travel advisor and OTAs such as and Expedia.

The purposes of distribution channels are twofold: to give potential customers the information they need to make a holiday choice, and to allow them to book once they have made their holiday choice. Choosing the best distribution channels for your business to develop and grow requires research and commitment of time.

In a COVID-19 world, reassurance plays a huge part in why consumers use a third party as a trusted source to protect their holiday. Once you have an understanding of this, you will be able to make informed decisions that will help grow your tourism business.

Your routes to market

You can gain business direct via your own website where you pay no commission (direct), or via an intermediary - travel trade or OTA (indirect). There are benefits to grow your business in both routes to market.




Where a customer books with your business in person:

  • by phone, email or direct message
  • through website's online booking engine

Where a customer uses a third party to research and book their travel. This could be:

  • an online tour operator
  • a travel agent
  • a traditional tour operator

In this section, find out more about these different channels and how they can help benefit your business.