Expanding Your Travel Business Globally: Challenges and Opportunities in International B2B Travel
The B2B travel sector is currently going through incredible expansion and transformation. There has been a shift in recent years toward digitalization, with an increase in the number of businesses shifting their reservations and activities online. The tremendous desire to start traveling again following COVID-19 has been extremely beneficial to travel companies in general. So much so, that the travel industry does not appear to be affected by the 2022 recession (and we sure hope this trend will continue in 2023). Travel companies that are riding this growth wave can focus on expanding their client base and sourcing internationally.
For B2B travel companies, going worldwide is essential since it gives them access to new markets, clientele, and revenue sources. B2B travel companies can provide their customers with a wider variety of travel options by growing globally, which can improve client happiness and loyalty.
Challenges of expanding internationally
For a number of reasons, it can be difficult for travel companies trying to grow worldwide to establish and retain partnerships with local partners. First, it might be challenging for businesses to successfully connect with and collaborate with their local partners due to linguistic and cultural difficulties. This may result in misunderstandings, poor communication, and even relationship damage.
Second, it's critical to comprehend local partners' company practices and market strategies in order to forge fruitful relationships with them. For businesses that are unfamiliar with the regional market, culture, and rules, this can be difficult.
Additionally, it can be challenging for travel businesses to navigate and make sure they are in line with local laws due to the various regulations and compliance in different nations. Because of this, it may be challenging for businesses to win over local partners' trust.
Finally, sustaining ties with local partners frequently necessitates a large investment of time and money, which can be difficult for businesses that are already under pressure from the demands of worldwide expansion.
Opportunities in expanding internationally
B2B travel companies need access to new markets and clientele since doing so enables them to boost sales, broaden their clientele, and gain an edge over rivals. If Covid taught us anything, diversifying your customer base is crucial so that your eggs are not concentrated in one basket.
Needless to say, increasing your market size can exponentially increase your revenue potential. That said, it´s important to look at international expansion not only in terms of increasing sales but also in terms of better sourcing options for the products and services you offer. Collaborating with local tour operators and DMCs can yield you better rates on hotels versus sourcing those same hotels from bedbanks, for example.
Strategies for successful international expansion
The best strategy for international expansion is attending the main travel conferences, such as ITB Berlin, WTM London, FITUR Madrid, WTM LATAM etc. To make sure your attendance at these events generates new collaborations, make sure to use their pre-event networking systems to book meetings ahead of time with your potential partners.
If your target audience is direct to consumers, try a variety of marketing strategies such as Facebook and Instagram ads, partnering with TikTok influencers, and more.
If you are an OTA, explore the option of being included in a metasearch engine such as Skyscanner or Hotelscombined, since this will expose your brand to an audience that is mainly looking for the best deal available.
Thanks to digitalization and the re-opening of b2b travel conferences, now is the best time to focus on expanding your business internationally. While the road to expansion might be bumpy, overall, it will most likely yield more benefits than staying local.