Writing press releases and stories about travel is a proven way to promote your travel agency with little or no capital outlay. However, many travel agents fail to do the preliminary groundwork necessary to ensure that their press release or article will be noticed by local or national media. Good marketers are continually seeking out and developing relationships with the media gatekeepers – reporters and editors. Within almost every community you will find newspaper reporters, researchers for television and radio stations, bloggers and specialty magazine journalists. These are the individuals who decide what stories make the cut. Typically, these writers and reporters work under terrific deadline pressures and welcome good ideas for stories. Your efforts at public relations will be greatly enhanced if you are on a first-name basis with the writers and news room and media staff. Making yourself known as a credible and reliable “go-to” resource with a well-defined set of opinions and positions can make it easier to be picked from the crowd when a reporter needs a local voice. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s the good news – the theory behind good PR copy is easy to understand. Here’s the bad news – the theory behind good PR copy is easy to forget. The theory is simple: find a unique angle and then relate it to your readers. Many travel agencies, however, make the classic mistake of writing their PR copy by listing the features of their agency. Good writing in a marketing context always talks to the benefits. Even if you do list a feature, you want to couch it in the context of the benefit to the client.
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You can be a “thought leader” in your community. The public has a keen interest in all things related to travel. If you seek them out, you are likely to find many opportunities to interact with hundreds, perhaps thousands of consumers in your community through an intelligent public relations campaign. This week, we are going to investigate some of the easily accessible aspects of public relations for travel agents.
Publishers and editors of magazines, newspapers and newsletters in your community need your assistance. Each day, or week or month, these hard working souls have to fill their periodicals with timely, interesting content. Read the rest of this entry »
Every travel agent should know the basics of travel writing. Your newsletter, your blog, PR pieces and articles for the local newspaper are all excellent marketing venues and require some writing skills. Writing about travel, to be sure, is not the same as being a travel writer. But a few tips from the people who know travel writing the best will improve your own technique and make your articles and stories more interesting to readers. Read the rest of this entry »
It is with fear and trembling that I sit down to type an article on writing well for travel agents. I sometimes cringe when reviewing articles I have written and sent on their way. Typographical errors, clichés, grammatical mistakes – I confess the list of transgressions that I commit almost daily is long. I seldom re-read an article of my own where I don’t catch at least one mistake. Perhaps I can best be of use as a good example of a bad example. Nevertheless, I will try to give you a short list of important writing tips Read the rest of this entry »
One of the great things about the travel industry is there is literally a world of destinations and topics about which to write. People love to travel, they love to talk about travel, and a good travel article will almost always find an audience. Deciding on topics for your blog or newsletter is a small exercise in marketing. The mission is to determine what subject will grab and hold the attention of the reader, and them coming back for more. Read the rest of this entry »
Chances are very good that you are an authority on some topic. For experienced travel agents, you are an authority on travel: how to get the best values, what to avoid, how to get there and what to do once you are there. But even if you are a novice travel agent, your life experiences have no doubt provided you with a topic on which you can write with authority. Therein is the beginning to what writers call a “voice” – the characteristic tone and style you use to convey your ideas. Some writers have a humorous voice, others instructive. Some choose a voice that is objective and neutral. Whatever voice a writer selects, it is important that it be authentic and consistent. Here are a few ways to discover and develop your own writing voice. Read the rest of this entry »
As my Publisher’s Corner article today suggests, with the accessibility of today’s media we are all suddenly publishers, editors and writers. This week, we want to turn our attention to writing articles, crafting blog posts and press releases. Most travel agents have lots of available “content” stored in their heads. A life-time of cruises, tours, fam trips and property inspections provides an undeniable expertise that is valuable to the public. The ability to write a good article is important for a travel agent. Most travelers recognize the need for knowledge and for tapping into the expertise of other travelers. A solid reference library of articles will be an important resource for clients, Read the rest of this entry »
Now that most agents are utilizing blogs to convey their messages to clients and prospects, one of the questions I see time and time again is “how do you get fresh content”?
Given that most people are not born writers and many have a phobia about writing, is it any wonder that it is considered a nasty chore? While photographs establish a visual image, writing establishes the mental image. And in the travel industry, both are equally as important. All you need to do to realize that is to open up any supplier brochure.
Writing for your travel related blog is not easy; but it will pay dividends for you in the long run. I am convinced that persistence is the key. On my Single Parent Travel site/blog, I average 30 new sign ups for my newsletter each day. Of course they are not all buying travel from me, but they are seeing my messages. Others have asked me how I can churn out a weekly column for TRO, keep up with Single Parent Travel, write the occasional consumer piece for other sites, and tinker with my MLM Blog. It isn’t easy. It is time consuming. But I have a plan and it works for me. Read the rest of this entry »
Like most technology geeks with a marketing background, I am fascinated by the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I get the social media stuff; I believe in it and I think there is a place in almost every travel agency’s marketing plan for these online tools. However, I also believe the marketing that really counts is rooted in the local, physical community of each travel professional. My concern is far too many agents hide behind their computer screens when they should be out speaking locally, writing articles, developing word of mouth tactics, and practicing public relations instead. I know, I sound like a parent fussing at the kids to get away from the computer and get outside and play.
Actually, I suppose that is exactly what I am doing. Read the rest of this entry »
No doubt there is a lot of competition out there. If you live in a community of any size, there are likely dozens of travel agents in the yellow pages, networking, writing articles and, in general, marketing hard to get themselves noticed. Beyond the boundaries of your geographic community, just on the other side of your clients’ keyboards, are thousands upon thousands of booking opportunities from the largest sites like Travelocity and Orbitz to small, niche players. But diligence will pay off and, over time, you manage to attract some portion of your share of the market to your agency.
That’s when the hard work really begins. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m doing something a little unusual for this TRO installment! In order to maintain privacy, I’m answering a question without providing the specific exchange. Over the past two weeks, several travel advisors reached out to me to let me know that their host are not paying their commissions (sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars). Read the rest of this entry »
I’m so grateful for your website. I’m 2.5 yrs into my (currently) Part-time career in travel. I need to change host agencies and am having trouble sorting through who is great at paying the highest commissions to part time ICs. Do you have any suggestions on where or how to search this?
Hey Steph, Bridget or Mary…or whoever is reading this,
First of all, THANK YOU for your website. I have been exploring it for the last two hours.
I was googling MLM and travel and found your article. Right now I have one question. I have been burned before by an MLM, but I have a friend who wants me to work with her in a travel one, which is something I have always wanted to do. I am a retired life insurance agent. “Sales” is my thing. Not to mention the fact that my Vedic astrologer told me I would be successful as a travel agent. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m working my way through the 7-Day Set Up and had a question about the piece on a Tale of Two Agents. I tried to comment directly on the page, but couldn’t get it to post. (I’ll have to check on that issue – probably a cookie setting).
I’m a little confused (and concerned) about the comment made in the piece on Wendy’s World Travel: “Even if you worked in a storefront, those are the agency’s clients and they don’t go with you.”
From everything that I’ve read (admittedly, somewhat limited), clients don’t actually belong to anyone. While booking with an agency under their IATA, the client’s booking belongs to the agency. However, if an agent leaves and former clients decide to follow them, new bookings belong to the agent under their new host/business and its IATA. Read the rest of this entry »
Host Agency Reviews recently surveyed hosted travel agents on their income and demographics for the second year in a row. After compiling the data, they published an article on the findings. We at TRO decided to interview everyone involved in the gathering of info and publication of the article, as we found it to contain previously unexplored insights into the travel agent community. Enjoy.
What are the most important things your website should showcase, do you have any organizational tips and what are the top 3 things that make a travel agent stand out among the crowd?
An additional question for you:
Do travel agents definitely always get the best price? Is there some kind of price guarantee made by the suppliers to travel agents? Can travel agents confidently tell their clients “this is the best price you will find anywhere?”
Thanks for the help.
For this week’s Independent Consultant, Mary offers insight to a reader inquiring about building their own travel site.
Hello, my name is Devon and I would just like to start by saying that I love your website. It has the most comprehensive articles to answer almost all of my questions regarding the travel industry! I have spent hours reading your various articles and already feel like I am way more knowledgeable about the travel industry than I ever would have been by simply scouring Google.
I am an avid traveler myself and have traveled all over the world but only recently considered it as an actual potential career. Most of my knowledge of the travel industry has mostly just come from the perspective of a traveler and I quickly realized how little I actually know about the industry as a whole.
I am interested and have been considering this career for the past few years.
Wondering if you have a recommendation of a host agency that would better cater to the Family Adventure Travel niche? This is where my passion is, and I would really like to find a company that can foster and mentor me in this startup.
Are you able to send me some recommendations for host agencies? I watched the video but still feel like I need some guidance. My company is based off of outdoor adventures such as hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, skiing, camping, etc. if you get a moment please check out my site at www.inclusiveexcursions.com
Thank you for your help!