Marketing has two functions – the retention of existing clients and the generation of new clients. Our mission is to discover where in the sales process we can fine-tune our one-on-one skills with consumers to turn them into repeat clients. But almost before we get to sales we have to step back and ask a very important question: Is your marketing attracting qualified leads?
Good marketing will not simply generate leads. Good marketing will generate qualified leads by setting the expectations of the consumers who contact you for travel services. Marketing conditions the sales process. If a majority of the leads coming to you are not qualified, your marketing is not working well for you. Read the rest of this entry »
More than fourteen years ago, Tom Peters wrote “The Brand Called You” for FastCompany magazine. The concept was simple, but profound. Each of us is our own brand. Whether in the context of a larger company or on our own, we brand ourselves by our actions, the way we dress, the opinions we hold and, ultimately, the company we keep. Further, to the degree that we promote our individual brand successfully, our own careers and the fortunes of the businesses with which we associate prosper.
The concept of personal brand has profound implications for customer loyalty and retention programs. We have established relationships as the key ingredient to customer loyalty. People form relationships with people, especially in service oriented businesses like travel consulting. The quality or the relationship you and your associates are capable of developing with clients will determine your repeat business. Read the rest of this entry »
This morning The 365 Guide is returning to an old theme – but an important one. Every travel agency should have a “visual system” – elements of their brand representation that are immediately recognizable as belonging to that agency. Typically, the visual system is made of a color palette, a logo, font, and other imagery. Most of us understand the importance of a strong logo and visual elements. We are surrounded by the success stories of companies that have logos that are immediately recognizable, even if we cannot easily remember exactly what elements are a part of the logo. But a complete visual system goes well beyond a logo. Good visual systems require that a company’s brand be represented in the same way in every media in which it has a point of contact with the public and that each element Read the rest of this entry »
Advertising can be a scary proposition for a travel consultant. In a service industry like ours, advertising can represent as much as 80% or more of an entire marketing budget. Purchasing the right media can be a daunting gamble and generating appropriate creative is as much art as science. Results can be difficult to measure – it can sometimes be tough to determine whether an advertisement created any results at all. Yet, advertising is often the most visible marketing done by an agency. Getting it right is important. Thus, the next few articles will deal with advertising: what it is, how to plan, execute and measure. Hopefully, at the end of our series, advertising will not seem quite as dark an art as it may right now.
A good working definition is that advertising is paid, non-personal communication through media about a company meant to persuade a target audience to act in a desired manner. Read the rest of this entry »
Travel agents can surround themselves with all of the accoutrements of a travel planning practice, with plenty of supplier product and subscriptions to periodicals, memberships in consortia and posters on the wall. But unless a travel consultant also develops a solid sense of their own brand, they will forever struggle to market themselves appropriately.
Every travel agent needs a unique selling point (USP) that differentiates them from the competition. The unique selling point may be the agent’s familiarity with a destination or a theme, it could be the agents’ contacts, tenacity, enthusiasm or passion. The travel agent’s USP might be some business practice that in some way ensures the success of their travel planning activities for clients. Read the rest of this entry »