We can’t deny the concept of selling liveaboard diving trips has been changing in the past 5 years. Surely, with digital technology steadily developing and strengthening its place in our lives, the international online travel agencies and marketplaces have become necessary check marks for liveaboard operators.
Although OTAs and long term partnerships with Agents play an important role for operator sales, yet there are definite advantages to streamline the bookings and redirect your clients to your website.
- Lower cost of sales. With Agents and OTAs charging up to 30% in commission, you can significantly increase your profit margins by focusing your sales on direct customers. It’s important to be balancing your sales channels and figure out your perfect ratio of direct and resellers. While resellers may give you a volume, direct sales are increasing your revenue.
- Build your brand awareness. Growing traffic to your website will also be strengthening your online presence and building your brand awareness — one of the key marketing objectives.
- Build customer relationships. Remember that your guests are your asset. Being in direct contact with your clients not only helps you to build your loyal audience, but also to increase the number of your promoters and brand ambassadors.
- Improve customer experience. Deliver a more personalized and smooth booking experience to your guests. You can boost your brand’s credibility by optimizing your guests’ experience while booking online directly with you.
The competitive landscape for liveaboard operators is the most challenging than ever. Although direct online bookings are key drivers for increasing market share, Agents and OTAs still help you to get international exposure and lower your cost on customer acquisition. Switching your focus on online bookings you must also invest in marketing and drive traffic to your website.
It’s also all in all your responsibility to find a proper technology to enable online booking. Liveaboards can be slow to adopt advanced technological solutions. The vast majority of independent liveaboard operators find it difficult to develop their own solution to enable online booking, admittedly the investment in development is no joke. Alternatively, SaaS solutions are indeed something liveaboards should look to incorporate into their work. Not only does SaaS (software as a service) come at lower cost, it is also easy to integrate and scale for your business needs. Furthermore, it has a team of tech professionals behind it working constantly on updates and new releases.