Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Building Customer Supply Channels in the Tourism Industry part #1

The tourism industry is a highly competitive market with a large number of supplies vying for tourist attention for a short period of time. This is even more competitive if you operate as a local tour operator in a specific market like Australian Coastal Mountain Tours does providing day tours in Melbourne Australia.

The tourism industry is made up of a number of supply chains that anyone looking to get into the industry needs to be aware of. In part 1, I’m going to focus on the distribution through international travel agencies, using Wholesalers, Inbound Operators and the Travel Agency.


Wholesalers work internationally sourcing products from the inbound tour operators and package products for travel agencies across multiple global regions. Say for example one wholesaler may work across the entire section of Western Europe, working as the go to point between the inbound operators, travel agents and the tour operators. Wholesalers take up to 10-15% commission.

Inbound Operators

A good example of an inbound operator is Southern Cross Tours Australia, a company that ACMT work with specifically to sell the Yarra Valley Day Tours and the Great Ocean Road Day Tours. Inbound operators will seek out local tourism operators like providing day tours, extended tours, or even accommodation and package them together into bundles to sell off to the wholesalers. Inbound operators will take up to 10% commission.

Travel Agents:

As a tour operator most of the time you won’t speak directly with the travel agent who sells your products. Travel agents work with inbound operators who work domestically to package the travel options together from range of different tourism companies. It takes about 2-3 years of building relationships and getting known as a credible operator before inbound operators will package your product in travel brochures. Fortunately ACMT has worked closely with Tourism Victoria which has helped build the relationships to get brochured now in over 3 international travel agencies. Travel agents will receive about 10% of the total booking price.

Once you have been through all these channels to get a booking from a Travel agent it will cost you around 30%.

Samuel Johns, runs luxury nature based tours through the surrounding regions of Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne Day tours include interactions with Australian native animals (Koalas and Kangaroos in the wild), bushwalking, scenic helicopter flights, and winery tours.