Everywhere we look in our modern, capitalist society we see countless business affiliations. Use a Visa Credit Card and earn frequent flier miles on United Airlines. Order a Happy Meal and receive an action figure from Disney’s latest big screen production. Buy a new Volvo and enjoy Sirius Satellite Radio. Affiliations are business arrangements that are made for mutual benefit, and in the corporate world this has become a basic and effective marketing technique. Among small businesses, affiliations are much less common.
As a general rule in the hospitality industry, guests do not travel simply to enjoy exceptional lodging. They have come to tour wineries, to ski, scuba dive, or to explore the city. Therefore, creating relationships both online and offline with non-competing, tourism-oriented businesses can be exceptionally profitable and mutually beneficial for both parties. Know your region, know what your guests have come for, and give them what they want.
Contact local private businesses such as restaurants, scuba shops, tour companies, or whatever is applicable to your region. Often times the owners of these businesses will be excited to offer your guests a discount in exchange for regular referrals. In turn, when their customer’s inquire about lodging, they are sure to refer these potential guests to you.
Take your affiliations a step further and create packages that can be promoted on your website. Create a couple’s massage, dinner, and suite package. Partner with a local rafting company and provide accommodations, a whitewater trip, and picnic. If you don’t have a fitness room, approach the local gym owner about a guest discount. Provide tickets to the nearby museum or stadium. Also, enjoy free marketing by making certain your arrangements are being promoted on your affiliate’s sites as well as your own.
When people are on vacation, they don’t want to hassle with details. Be creative. Price your packages with a mark up on non-lodging activities and profit from more than just your rooms. Convenience is a big selling point and guests will be happy to pay extra to avoid the hassle of planning. If an entire vacation can be planned from your website, bookings will soar and referrals will abound.