Top tips for impressing a Product Manager
Product managers are the gatekeepers to ensuring that your destination or hotel is featured by a tour operator or agent – and they are often notoriously tricky to impress!
We asked Sarah Jackson, our Director of Travel Trade Marketing and former product manager at Scott Dunn for her top tips on impressing a product manager.
Know your USPs
Before you approach any product manager, ensure you know what your USPs are and what makes you a strong option to add to any product portfolio. Have a think about what the current travel trends are and how your product embodies this.
Do your research
Take your time to understand the companies that you are targeting, who are their target markets and what type of holidays do they sell? This way, you can take steps to understand how your product will fit into their portfolio. Some tour operators have very strict requirements as to the type of products they feature, so be aware of this (or come ready for reasons as to why yours should be the exception).
Keep up with the news
If a tour operator is typically not the right fit for your product, do not disregard them, as you never know what their future plans are. It could be that they are planning to open a group tours division, or have even merged with another company, suddenly opening up a wealth of opportunities. Keep an eye on the news to see any announcements about which direction companies are heading.
Plan a visit
During my time as a product manager, it was incredibly rare that we would add a hotel to our portfolio without a member of the team visiting first – the exception would usually be a hotel brand we knew well opening a new property. Therefore it is vital that you invite product managers to visit you – and be prepared to woo them.
Do mention the C word!
No, this time it isn’t Covid but competitors! Suppliers often do anything they can to avoid mentioning their competitors, but whether you like it or not, they are there and your product manager is going to want to talk about them.
The biggest questions for any product manager when adding a product to their portfolio are, do I have a business need for this product, and why should I have X when I already have Y?
My advice therefore is to see this as an opportunity for you to highlight the reasons why you are different, why their company needs X as well as Y (or, dare we say it, instead of?) and what exciting plans you have for the future. Avoid talking negatively about your competitors – appreciate that everyone has their place in the market but that some products may be a better fit for some than others.
Get your collateral ready
Adding a product to a portfolio requires detailed information and a bunch of high resolution images, so to ensure your product is added as quickly as possible, have all these details to hand. For me as a product manager, the more information the better and there is no such thing as too much! Maps, restaurant and spa menus, room plans and local area information are all vital in creating an accurate portfolio addition.
Prepare for launch!
Product Managers work very closely with their marketing teams, so it will be important for them to know what a launch campaign could look like and importantly – do you have the budget to support any initiatives? This is also a great way to track results and report back on those all essential booking numbers. If you can, get partners like airlines, hotels and DMCs involved to maximise your exposure and budget.
If you are looking to expand the number of channels your product is selling on and are looking for trade representation from a team who understands the industry, send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.