After thirty minutes of my time, I have three new clients. One client wants a two week customized honeymoon to South America, the other two clients want to go to Tahiti.
Let me first explain to you that 100% of my business is generated online. The Internet has been the vessel that drives my business. It’s my bloodline And I have discovered a way to generate sales without breaking the bank.
If you look at other commission based industries such as real estate, you can see that they are way far ahead of the technology game than most travel agents are. Why? Their online presence is phenomenal. They have blogs, lead capture sites, classified ads, newsletters, and more. If you really think about it, they are marketing to a smaller audience and trying to make a harder sale. There are many more people taking vacations than there are buying homes. This is the very reason why travel agents need to be more involved with Internet marketing.
So, for thirty minutes of work, I have three solid leads. If you do the math, the return on my investment of time is significant. It is even more if I can convert them into repeat buyers. How exactly did I do this?
I know that many people will scoff at the way I generated these leads, but in the end, I have three clients I didn’t have last week. The methods I use are what most travel agents would call “unconventional”. When in fact, there is nothing unconventional about it at all –it’s all about keeping up with the pace of technology. It’s smart, effective, and to me, it’s proven.
Post your specials online for free.
The Internet is the home of powerful classified ad sites such as Craigslist.org or Backpage.com. I use these two sites to post attractive vacation specials. Best of all, you can target your ads towards the products or destinations you want to sell. In my case, I posted a vacation deal to Tahiti and two out of my three leads want to go to, you guessed it –Tahiti!
You can choose to post your ad in any city across the nation. If you have some fantastic pricing for a Los Angeles departure, place your ad in the “LA” section. If you have group space on a cruise departing Ft. Lauderdale, FL, place your ad in the “Ft. Lauderdale” section. It only makes sense.
Making your ad attractive and professional is the key to turning lookers into bookers. For good results, have photos, a clean layout, enough (but not too much) information on the special, and all of your contact information. Occasionally, I will insert a link to a vacation request form on my site.
Having a basic knowledge of Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is a plus for this type of lead generation. The most common HTML code I use is:
<img src=”INSERT YOUR IMAGE URL IN HERE”> <br>
This code will post your picture with a single line break. By using this code, you can place as many pictures into your ad as you want. If you have any website design software such as Frontpage or Dreamweaver, you can design your ad with all the bells and whistles, copy and paste the HTML code into the ad box and turn your ad into dazzling display.
Once you are happy with the design and content, post it in the appropriate city. Since you will be placing your ads nationwide, it is a good idea to have a toll-free number to make it easy for the lookers to contact you.
Craigslist.org has recently implemented restrictions on the number of ads you are allowed to post. You are allowed to post up to three ads per section every 48 hours. This is why it is important to utilize other classified ad sites as well. Other popular sites include: Backpage.com, Kijiji.com, and Oodle.com. Once you get into a rhythm of posting ads, you will see how they can benefit your business without spending a dime. So, if you have an extra half hour to spare, and no new leads to pursue, design an ad, and post away! Have you had any success with online ads? Maybe eBay, Craigslist or Backpage? Why not share your story in the comment section?
Troy Lynn Metzger, owner of Fun Destinations, has been a home-based travel agent for seven years. She obtains all of her clients online and continues to grow her agency with outside agents. Her agency website is www.FunDestinations.net and she can be reached at TroyLynn@FunDestinations.net