There is probably no aspect of the entire spectrum of marketing that is as problematic as advertising. Done properly, travel agency advertising will influence a target audience. Done poorly, it will, well, make you poor. It’s no wonder that so many travel agencies advertise so minimally, and thereby lose out on a significant opportunity to make people aware of their services.
The secret to an advertising campaign that works is to have the proper expectations going into the campaign. Understand what advertising can, and cannot, do for your travel agency.
Advertising can interest people in travel. Advertising can make people aware of your existence. Advertising can motivate people to call your office. Advertising can bring a consumer to the doorstep of your travel agency.
But advertising cannot sell anything. That is where advertising stops and sales begins – with you.
For advertising to do its job properly, there are a lot of pre-conditions. The ad must clearly and authentically mirror the values and personality of your travel agency. The ad must be cleanly designed, and placed in appropriate media where your target office will see it. The ad must be repeated with enough frequency to be noticed and for brand awareness to build. The campaign must be adjusted to keep it lively and fresh.
That last part is particularly important. Unless an ad is “changed up” with some frequency, people no longer notice it. Colors have to change, position has to shift. The same ad needs to be seen in a variety of formats – email, banner ad, articles, newsletters. The brand needs to osmotically saturate the subconscious mind of the target audience so when they want to travel, they will think of you. To the extent that you have tightly focused your target, the more likely the audience is to think of your travel agency.
Advertising will set expectations about your travel agency. You have to demonstrate the ability to deliver on those expectations within the first few minutes of your initial opportunity to begin the sales process, when the client first calls. Impress the client by making good on the promises of your advertising and you have a real opportunity to sell your travel agency services to them.
Your advertising efforts need support. A well-rounded marketing campaign will have a strong public relations component composed of events, public speaking, word of mouth programs and press releases. You will have testimonials from satisfied clients and you will be participating in effective social media campaigns. It’s no easy task and you will need the support of good advisors and much planning in the process. Advertising is an important part of the whole and it has its job to do. Together with your advertising, the balance of your marketing program will effectively represent your agency’s values to the world and drop them off at your doorstep.