While the importance of distribution has been recognised in tourism literature, the research has been
approached mainly from the perspective of supply, with very little attention given to the customer. To date,
there has been even less focus on the distribution channel requirements of the National Park customers.
The purpose of this study is to examine how the various distribution channels used by South African
National Parks (SANParks) go towards satisfying the customers’ distribution channel requirements and
identifying whether there is any relationship between certain variables, such as gender or the frequency of
channel use, and the level of satisfaction that customers experience with the various channels. Web-based
and paper-based questionnaires are distributed to the customers who have used the SANParks distribution
channels before. The results show that, although the SANParks website is the most frequently used channel
for making a booking, it is not necessarily the channel with which customers are most satisfied; in fact, they
are more satisfied with the satellite walk-in reservation offices and satellite call centres. While the majority of
the research studies in the context of tourism distribution channels have shown the importance and
popularity of electronic distribution channels among customers, this paper cautions SANParks not to
assume the distribution channel requirements of their customers and urges them to continually assess their
distribution strategies and to become more customer-focused in their approach.