This is the last of three articles in this week’s blog posts which highlight travel affiliate opportunities in the escorted tour operator niche.

Just about every tour operator (TO) offers their products and services on both a ‘bricks and mortar’ and online basis.  However, a small – but growing – number of TOs limit their offerings solely to online.  One of the leading players in this niche that offers travel affiliate partnership opportunities is California-based Tours4Fun.

Tours4Fun positions itself as the “…ultimate online travel superstore with the widest selection and best prices.”  They offer both their own branded product line of escorted tours as well as tours from major tour operators like Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways.  However, digging a little deeper into their branded escorted offerings, it’s pretty clear that Tours4Fun’s ‘bread and butter’ tour product is motorcoach tours.

While for some travel affiliates, the notion of traveling on a bus doesn’t carry the same caché as plane travel, TravelDividends strongly suggests that this fact not dissuade you from assessing the attractiveness of Tours4Fun’s product line, for motorcoach travel is big business.

According to a recent American Bus Association survey, domestic motorcoach services accounted for 751 million passenger-trips in 2007; that’s 9% more than the number of U.S. certified commercial air carrier enplanements, and 20 times greater than Amtrak and commuter rail passenger-trips combined.  While only a portion of these passenger-trips were tour related, according to the same survey, tourists purchased $5.6 billion of motorcoach industry services. To bring the opportunity this niche offers to travel affiliates into a more granular perspective, here’s another statistic to ponder: in major tourist destination cities like Washington, DC, more than 1,000 motorcoaches flood the city each day during peak season.  Not an insignificant number, that.

Tours4Fun seems to be well positioned in this super-niche. Their U.S escorted tour product line includes itineraries tailored to visiting major national parks, like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon, city and regional tours to major tourist destinations (e.g., Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, the West Coast and East Coast) and seasonal itineraries (e.g., Fall Foliage Tours in New England, Cherry Blossom Tours in Washington, DC).  Their international program includes set itineraries and select departures to major destinations in Europe, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, South & Central America, Africa and the Middle East, with many (though not all) programs centered on motorcoach travel as the preferred at-destination travel mode.

Tours4Fun’s website is well-designed, user-friendly and their product lines are categorized by geography.  The website enables real time order status information, and consumers can book many tour programs online through a simple four-step process. Alternatively, once on the site, consumers can complete the booking with the help of a Tours4Fun customer service representative. The TO’s Online Customer Service center is available 9:00am – 5:00pm PST, Monday through Friday, and 9:00am – 1:00pm PST on Saturday.

TravelDividends also likes their travel affiliate program. Tours4Fun pays 5% commission per sale, and according to data on ShareASale, the TO’s preferred affiliate network provider, they have a current 30 day EPC of $76.75 and the average sale price of the packages sold is about $891.  Additionally, tracking cookie lasts for 30 days after the initial clickthru.

From TravelDividends’ perspective, the motorcoach tour market represents a very sizeable (and attractive) super-niche, and that Tours4Fun makes for a good partner for some travel affiliates.  What is your opinion of this niche?  Have you had any experience in working with Tours4Fun or other similar escorted tour operators?  Drop us an email…we very much appreciate learning your views and thoughts.

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