My father once told me that the only direction a person could drift was downhill. Yet, we are all guilty of occasionally coasting rather than giving our best efforts a full range. Let me indicate, however, now is not the time to take your foot off the gas. The economy is coming back and people want to travel. Hopefully you were marketing when things were a bit quieter last year. Even if not, however, here are a few low-cost marketing efforts that will help you gain the mindshare necessary to kick off growth when people begin to release the pent up demand they have for travel.
- Be Visible – Nothing succeeds like face-to-face networking. Find ways to get in front of the public. Round up speaking engagements and meet with clients. Talk about the amazing opportunities in travel. Be contrarian but sensible. Appeal to reason and appeal to people’s emotions – now is a great time to travel.
- Word of Mouth – pump some energy into your word of mouth campaigns. Tap into the social networks you utilize, both online and in your local community, and talk to the influencers. Now is a great time to: i)plan company events – resorts and hotels are clamoring for the business; ii) visit Europe – the dollar is stronger, the crowds are still thin and prices are good; iii) take that family vacation – many resorts are offering free nights or “kids stay free” promotions; iv) organize that group trip – people feel better with company, it takes the edge of any concerns. Reach out and tap into the evangelists you have used before in your word of mouth campaigns. Don’t have a word of mouth network? Here’s how to develop one.
- Existing Clients – talk to your existing clients. Don’t accept silence as being “OK”. During times of concern, people want to hear from the professionals that surround them. Reach out with your newsletter and via telephone. Let them hear a re-assuring voice of reason. Help them cut through the media hype and see the potential in the current situation. Even though your clients may not be traveling right now, hearing from you will remind them that you are available. The next time they think about travel, they will think about you.
- Public Relations – write a letter to the editor, an editorial for a local newsletter, or an entry on your blog. Speak to the silver linings that are always there if an expert marketer is on the job. Help people better understand travel.
This 365 Marketing and Sales Tip is provided free to the travel agent community by:
The effort you put forward now will be to your great benefit later. Don’t let inertia stall out your marketing plans. Put yourself in gear and begin gaining the mindshare of your community. There’s lots of pent-up demand for travel right now. When your clients are read to travel - it’s you they will remember.