THIRD PARTY RESELLERS – Best Practices for Leveraging Affiliate Resellers


Best Practices for Leveraging Affiliate Resellers

Wouldn’t it be great if we were always at capacity? There would be no need to advertise or run promotions… People would rave about the business and it would succeed based solely on the power of word of mouth advertising and the power of the brand…No sales and marketing efforts needed. Just sit back, relax, and collect admission. REALITY CHECK–unless you are Hamilton–the Musical, operating at maximum capacity with little to no effort simply does not happen.

To draw business consistently, leisure service operators must use all the sales and marketing actions that are generally accepted to drive their business engine. One of the most important components of a successful admissions formula is to build a relationship with third-party resellers. When nurtured properly, a healthy relationship with these affiliates can feed capacity and drive profit. The additional ticket sales generated from these relationships will help businesses to fill in the valleys and grow attendance. These relationships can be very beneficial, but they must be must nurtured. Here is a listing of some of the most popular third-party resellers:

AAA (Automobile Association of America)
Amazon Travel
Entertainment Benefits Group
The MARK Travel Corporation
Virgin America
Virgin Atlantic

There are also the steep-discount brokers including Groupon and Living Social. They can help drive visitors to your facility, but they tend to do so with a much lower per person admission. Avoid them if you can.

Additionally, it is very important to steer clear of fly-by-night resellers. In fact, with nearly all third-party resellers, it is advisable to require that they place a bond in escrow if they are moving a reasonable volume of tickets. That way, if an affiliate disappears overnight, their outstanding balance won’t.

As leisure service operators’ partner with third-party resellers, it is key to provide them with as much support as possible in the form of graphics, logos, descriptions, and audio clips. Whatever it takes to help them to be successful. And when it comes to ensuring affiliate success, here are a few additional best practices that will facilitate optimal relationships:

Exclude Price from Ticket Copy. Create a distinct ticket template for third-party resellers. This template should not include the ticket cost anywhere on the ticket facing. This is done to alleviate headaches with affiliates who do not normally want guests to know the negotiated rate of the ticket. This rate is confidential and not for public consumption.

Embrace the Interface. If a facility’s point-of-sale platform has a third-party affiliate portal, then affiliate brokers should use it. The ‘old school’ way of booking, redeeming, and billing for third party resellers can be extremely labor intensive and time consuming for both parties. Use technology when it is available and develop it when the volume justifies the cost.

Build Relationships. Business is really about relationships and a successful third-party affiliate business will thrive when relationships are fostered. Here are a few ways that this can occur:

* Schedule regular calls with top resellers to discuss sales, their needs, and to work out future strategy.

* Strengthen the relationship with each reseller by inviting them to the facility, taking them out to dinner, or embracing them as the guest of honor at select events.

* Visit their business, their call center, and engage with their team. Get them excited about your facility and how important they are to its success.

* Host industry days where affiliate client reps and sales staff can bring their families to your facility and to experience the things that best exemplify you. Great salespeople draw on their own experience to convey compelling product recommendations.

Third-party resellers can be a significant profit center for any leisure service business. The key is to be attentive to the relationship. When these valuable partners are set up for success, they will perform. If time is limited, focus on resellers who are producing the strongest. Build them up and see to their success as you would your own Sales Associates. Communicate their value regularly and reap the rewards.