Be prepared

Before you start to meet with travel trade buyers to pitch your product and work towards setting up sales contracts, it’s important to be prepared with all the sales materials you will need to support your sales effort.

A trade sales kit is a set of documents that include all the information an inbound tour operator (ITO) or wholesaler will need in order to load your product into their system and sell it through their distribution networks. Bring your trade sales kit with you to all sales meetings and tradeshows.

A trade sales kit includes:

  • A trade fact sheet that communicates the experiences you offer, and all information needed to sell your product
  • Destination information that sets the scene
  • A selection of high-resolution images that showcase your product experience
  • Rate sheets with terms of trade to supply as a follow up to meetings where the buyer has shown interest in contracting your product

All your material should be consistently branded, reflecting the look and feel of your existing marketing materials. A trade kit should be available in hard and soft copy.

BridgeClimb Sydney. Credit: Destination NSW

Tips for creating your trade sales kit

Trade sheets

A trade fact sheet should be written and designed with time-poor travel trade buyers in mind.

Their priority is finding key information easily, so here are some tips to help meet their needs.

  • Keep your writing concise and easy to read, preferably using one page per product. There is no need to provide long paragraphs of text
  • Use headings, sub-headings and clear points so information is easy to read
  • Avoid overly informal language or slang as it can easily get lost in translation, even between English speaking markets
  • It is important your unique selling point (USP) is clear. Don’t forget to highlight what makes your experience stand out
  • Use good quality, high resolution images that demonstrate the experience you offer. Ideally, your images should feature people enjoying your product or experience
  • Proofread your fact sheet and make sure your information, spelling and grammar are all correct
  • Check that your file is easy to open and a manageable size, especially if it is to be emailed. Remember your image quality will differ for print and online publication, so if you are printing hard copies, you will need a higher resolution. A PDF file will usually look more finished than a Word document.

Give your fact sheet a final check before you begin to distribute it.

  • Make sure all the information is clear, easy to understand and accurate.
  • Are your directions clear? Should you add a map?
  • Are your unique selling points clear?
  • Do your inclusions demonstrate the full value of your experience?
  • Did you include the correct availability, booking and contact details?

What to include in your trade fact sheet

To help you get started you will find a sample trade fact sheet on here. Make sure your trade fact sheet includes the following essential information, laid out clearly, so it is easy to scan for information.

  • About the company - This is a brief overview of who you are and what you offer. You can borrow from your sales pitch in this section
  • About the tour, attraction or accommodation - This is a brief introduction about your product. Make a separate sheet for each different product you offer
  • Tour inclusions or property facilities
  • For tours or attractions, list the inclusions and selling points to help travel trade understand the experience that visitors will have. This is your chance to identify your unique selling points. This should focus on tangible inclusions, such as lunch and transfers.
  • For accommodation, list the property facilities including dining options, room types and bedding configurations
  • Features - Highlight the features that make your product stand out. This is where you can detail your unique selling points. Some examples of product features include unusual itinerary highlights, access to insider knowledge or locations, or unique interactions with people or places not offered elsewhere
  • Location - Your physical location or address. If you are offering a tour, detail where the tour starts, and include some itinerary highlights. It is good practice to include a map to show the location in the context of the surrounding area, including proximity to major towns, landmarks or airports. Depending on how your customers find you, you might also detail travel distances from nearby cities or transport hubs and parking/ access information
  • Retail rate - The gross rate, or full price customers pay you directly per adult, per child, or per room. Don’t include your nett rates on a fact sheet, these will be laid out in a separate rate sheet
  • Availability - Days and times the tour, attraction operates, or accommodation is available; and details of block-out periods when the product is not available to be booked, e.g. public holidays and specify the dates (e.g. Christmas day – 25 December)
  • Bookings - Detail how the product can be booked, including phone and email details for your dedicated trade contact person.
Neds Beach, Lord Howe Island. Credit: Destination NSW

Destination information

Setting the scene of your destination before launching into what product you offer is very important, wherever you’re located. The travel trade buyer might sell a large number of destinations but may not be intimately aware of yours. It is a good idea to include destination information in your trade kit.

  • Highlight your destination’s unique selling points, how it’s accessed, and how far it is from a major centre.
  • Use or borrow from existing destination marketing materials from your RTO, destination network or local tourism organisation to help paint a picture of your destination’s appeal.
  • Be prepared to give a couple of broad itinerary examples to demonstrate how your product might fit into the buyer’s programs.

Rate sheets

In addition to having an appropriate rate structure, it’s important to also have separate rate sheets ready for retail, wholesale and ITO buyers, so you are always able to provide the right rates to the right kind of buyer.

Mishandling rates, for example providing ITO rates to a wholesaler, can work against all the effort you have put into secure sales partners, so it’s important to have clearly distinguished rates for your three levels of distribution partners and ensure you’re systematic in ensuring the right rates go to each one.

  • As a general standard, ITOs are offered around 30% commission, wholesalers 20% and retailers 10-15%
  • Rates should be inclusive of GST
  • Your rate sheets should clearly list each of the products you sell, with the retail (gross or full price) rates alongside the nett rates (retail rate minus commission) for each customer type, e.g., Adult, Child, Group
  • Rate sheets are used by the travel trade to load products into their booking systems, so if you include all the relevant details relating to sales is important, then they don’t need to search for more information.

You should ensure your rate sheets include:

  • Your company name and booking or trade contact details
  • Rate validity from 1 April – 31 March in line with the tourism year. Rates should also apply for the next 18 months to two years
  • Child and concession rate age limits, detailing inclusive ages eligible for the child rate and any other child policy details e.g. min. weight or requirement to have an accompanying adult
  • Blockout dates when the products cannot be booked (e.g. public holidays noting the actual dates, e.g. Good Friday 29 March)
  • Definition of a group including minimum and maximum numbers
  • Minimum and maximum numbers for each product type
  • Optional information can be included such as opening hours and product inclusions e.g., meals, to provide an extra level of detail.

To help you get started you will find a sample rate sheets here

Images

Supplying great images conveys your product’s essence and experience efficiently and effectively, more than words ever could. Images are key to help to market your product. As part of your trade sales kit, you should have a suite of quality, high resolution images of your product, ideally with people in them. Trade partners will require these to promote your product. Select 5 -10 quality images that depict all your products and services. You will want to make sure you have an image for each room type or tour.

Create an online folder with a service like Dropbox to easily share images with trade partners.

Kayaking, Minnamurra. Credit: Destination NSW

Terms of trade

When entering a contract with a distributor to sell your product, it is imperative to clearly state all your terms relating to that sales relationship up front, in a clear Terms of Trade document. This is to be supplied with rates once a travel trade buyer requests further information, and always as part of your trade kit when sending your yearly rates.

Please note, the terms and conditions is a legally binding document, and it is recommended that you obtain legal advice to finalise.

When considering terms of trade, consult the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website to set out the rights and responsibilities of each party involved.

For the international travel trade:

  • Terms and conditions that only apply to your domestic visitors will not be relevant to a travel trade. For example there is no need to include a requirement that NSW seniors’ cards be presented to receive a particular rate, or provide birthday party conditions in your terms of trade
  • Terms and conditions that generally apply to all travellers can be included, for example safety and age restrictions
  • If you are going to offer credit terms to trade buyers, i.e., invoicing an ITO for payment once the traveller has visited, then your trade terms should include a credit policy and a process for applying for credit (e.g. a form requesting credit references). Working on credit terms is the preferred payment process in the travel trade and it is uncommon to request a deposit or prepayment.

Terms of Trade may include the following items, and any additional terms you may have in place for customers. It is recommended that you seek legal advice to finalise this document.

  • Rate validity dates – From 1 April to 31 March. This is the tourism calendar year and is aligned with wholesaler brochure production.
  • Contact details – Provide your trade booking contact and accounts contact details, including phone, mobile, email and website
  • Cancellation Policy – Explain any cancellation charges, often based on the time frame in which cancellation occurs prior to travel. For example, 100% cancellation fee applies within seven days of the booking
  • Amendment charges – Explain any charges that apply when making changes to an existing booking
  • Child/Infant Ages – Age ranges that apply should be detailed, with actual rates on your rate sheet. For example, infant rate applies to children under three years (0-2); child rate applied to children aged 3 to 12 years inclusive
  • Free of charge (FOC) policy – This is usually applicable to groups only. Advise how many rooms to be booked or how many passengers on a tour and the maximum free spots offered - e.g., 1 FOC for every 15 paying passengers to a maximum of 2; or 1 FOC room for every 10 rooms booked to a maximum of 2.Clearly specify if there are restriction to whom the FOC can be given to: e.g. pax/guide/tour leader/ driver or only bonafide escorts/guides only
  • Inclusions – Detail product inclusions, such as entry fees, lunch or room inclusions e.g., full breakfast, daily newspaper
  • Group confirmation deadlines – Provide specific deadlines around how many days before the tour/booking an ITO needs to confirm and provide final numbers, rooming list, or passenger list. This is applicable to groups only
  • Minimum and maximum passenger numbers – For tours
  • Departure days, times and pick up points – For tours
  • Minimum night stays – For accommodation
  • Maximum guest capacity – For accommodation per room
  • Bedding configuration – Per room type for accommodation
  • Payment policy – This should detail how and when payment is due. Many tourism industry partners have different methods of payment. It is the responsibility of the individual operator to negotiate an agreed payment method direct with their travel trade partners
  • Credit policy and application – A credit policy allows ITOs to work with you on an invoice basis, paying after the visit. ITOs wishing to access credit terms (including invoiced at the end of each month) complete your credit application form, allowing you to request and check references. Advise that you will accept bookings on a charge-back basis, ITO vouchers and booking codes.
  • Bank details and ABN/CAN for invoice payments, and specify your accounts/finance team’s contact details
  • Damages and responsibilities – This should be addressed. For example, state who is responsible for any damages and that you accept no responsibility for property.
  • Consider a force majeure clause to cover you from unforeseen events such as natural causes (fires, cyclones, or adverse weather conditions), technical or maintenance problems with transport – Please seek legal advice on this.
  • It is a good idea to include your public liability insurance (Certificate of Currency) with your rate submission as ITOs need a copy of this due to strict international travel laws. The norm is to have public liability insurance valued at a minimum AUD 20 million.
  • Special conditions – Detail any that apply, for example surcharges or block out dates that apply on specific, inclusive dates.

Sample versions of fact sheets and rate sheets are available below.