When we launched the Rezgo Vendor system back in November 2008 at the inaugural PhoCusWright Innovation summit we expected the system to become a distribution channel for Rezgo members looking to distribute their products through a variety of third party resellers. What we have seen instead over the last two years is a growing interest from providers who are using the Vendor system as a mechanism for distributing products through a network of affiliates. We now have, for example, several Rezgo provider members who are using the vendor system to power concierges and activity desks in their particular destinations.
Although the vendor system by default is meant to push transactions through the Rezgo payment gateway, it does allow for the vendor to use their own payment gateway. This feature is critical to the use of the system as an affiliate system and the main reason why the system can be used in this way. As affiliates are generally not responsible for taking payments on behalf of the provider, it is critical that the provider be able to receive the payments for their bookings themselves without having to worry about the affiliate handling credit card information or cash from customers.
In the default model, a vendor or potential reseller would create a Rezgo vendor account and then search for Rezgo providers with whom to partner by using RezgoConnect. The vendor sends a connection request (similar to a friend request on Facebook) to the provider along with an offer to do business. If the provider agrees to do business with the vendor, then the provider accepts the connection request and their products are listed in the vendors portal. When a traveler goes to the vendor’s website and books a tour or activity, the payment is accepted through the Rezgo gateway. The booking is immediately available to the provider and also appears in the booking reports of the vendor. Since the booking is made through the Rezgo gateway, the customer has the ability to cancel the booking using the Rezgo cancellation form and they receive a credit back to their purchasing credit card immediately. When the customer arrives at the provider’s tour or activity with their voucher, the provider checks in the voucher using the Rezgo check-in function. As soon as the voucher is checked in, it triggers a payment event in Rezgo and the provider is paid their net fee and the vendor is paid their net commission at the next payment cycle.
In the provider controlled affiliate model, the provider creates a vendor account on behalf of the affiliate and sets the payment method as their own payment gateway. The provider then uses RezgoConnect to connect their provider account to the vendor account they just created and feed their product to the new vendor account. In this case, since the payment is flowing directly to the provider’s payment gateway, there is no need to worry about a delay in payment or the check-in process.
Here are some other benefits to consider when using Rezgo as an affiliate system for your tour and activity business:
- Inventory control – All sales made through the affiliate program affect your inventory and are tracked in a single place. Never oversell again by keeping your inventory up to date and live 100% of the time.
- Commission control – Set different commissions for different affiliates. Each affiliate can have their own commission relationship with you.
- Product control – Choose which products are available to affiliates. You can even create special products for your best affiliates.
- Simple and trusted interface – Give your affiliates a trusted and simple interface to booking your tours and activities. The booking interface your affiliates use is identical to the one provided on your own website. This increases the credibility of your booking interface and makes the booking process predicatable.
- Co-branding of affiliate sites – Allow your affiliates to “skin” your booking engine with their website look and feel.
- Co-branded vouchers – Enhance your affiliate brand while increasing trust in your own brand by giving customers co-branded vouchers.
- Integrated reports – The Rezgo vendor system already includes reporting that shows the affiliate their sales.
- Additional users – You can allow your affiliates to have multiple logins to their affiliate websites.
- Fully XML Capable – Your affiliate sites have a full XML API allowing complete integration of your content into other systems or websites.
- Widgets – Allow your affiliates to integrate your products directly into their sites, blogs, or social networks using content widgets.
- Facebook Page – Affiliates can add a tab to their Facebook page that lists your tours and activities and drives customers into the booking process.