Advanced Public Relations for Travel Agents: Community Service Events
Marketing is not just about brochures and advertising. Much marketing happens during the course of other activities in the life of your local community. Attending and participating in community events is one of the most important ways to gain a public relations advantage for your travel agency. Wherever people gather, you have a quiet and subtle opportunity to introduce them to your travel company, to promote your own unique brand of travel consulting and to further integrate your business into the life of your community. Authentic marketing is keyed to your personality and community events offer an excellent opportunity to put your talents and personality on display for both existing and potential clients.
One of the distinct advantages of event-oriented public relations is their low capital cost. Typically, participation in a public event such as a local craft fair or art exhibit, film series or charity benefit requires little or no expenditure of cash on your part. However, don’t be fooled – there is a very direct cost in terms of the time and energy necessary for proper preparation. This is particularly true because it is not enough to merely attend. If you want to get the most out of public relations you are best to involve yourself to the fullest degree possible – volunteering for duty.
Virtually any organization that sponsors or promotes and event will need volunteers. Typically, the people who orchestrate such events are the “movers and shakers” in your community and can be an important source of referrals for your business. Your participation provides the opportunity for others to see your organization skills, your dedication to a cause and your native intelligence in a context other than that of direct marketing activities. In addition, by getting involved in the background of the event you can insure that your agency receives a high profile spot in the publicity generated to promote the activities. Best of all, your involvement demonstrates a commitment to community service. People do business with others of a like spirit, who give themselves to a cause larger than their immediate personal concerns.
Prepare for your participation by making sure that you can authentically sponsor and promote the cause around which the event is organized. Your passion for the event will provide the energy and enthusiasm necessary to properly showcase your talents. Stick with causes in which you have a genuine interest.
Don’t overtly market yourself except where the event provides an appropriate venue. Most events will provide participants with an opportunity to promote their business, even if it is on a nametag or a mention in a printed program. If you can purchase a small ad and the cost in within your budget, do so or offer to trade out additional effort for the cost of the advertisement.
The great advantage of participation in such events is the congregation of like-minded individuals brought together by an atmosphere that is typically other than business. Direct your very subtle marketing skills at these events and leverage the gathering to the benefit of both your community and your travel practice.
Spend a few moments today looking for opportunities to involve yourself and your travel practice in a community event. Give the organizers a call. You will be marketing in a very serious way the moment you pick up the phone.