Travel dreams are perishable
Most Americans start the year with a plan. No, not the New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, read more, exercise etc…We start with a calendar in hand and begin to think about the year’s travel options. The holidays are when we get the ‘can’t-change commitments’, such as weddings, graduations and anniversaries. These are the first dates we fill in—with ink. They can’t change. Then with any funds left over from taxes, and time left from the must-do’s, we look at filling some of our travel dreams. That’s why the key travel selling time is so short and perishable.
Time & fiscal restraints determine the annual boundaries
Naturally most will want to fill our biggest travel dreams first, but reality is a cruel master. Not every year will clients be able to go to Hawaii, Europe or an African safari, but the will go somewhere. Destinations, suppliers and travel agents who understand this and give them realistic travel options will get their business. In other words, if we treat all potential travelers as travelers, then it’s just a matter of offering the right package, which will fit their budget and vacation time.
Don’t try to sell just concepts
I love to see all the pretty pictures in travel magazines, and on web sites. You can enter contests online or on Twitter which reward beautiful travel pictures and images. While these images may be inspirational, you can’t travel to an image!
I frequently see destinations showing a fantastic sight and a catchy phrase.
I guess they “get it” since they are paying for it, but most travel consumers will ignore it, without a web site listing, a call to action or even a price!
If it’s too expensive, I may not buy it, but someone might
Our everyday experience tells us that this isn’t just a land of just KIAs and Chevys. We see neighbors who drive luxury cars and buy luxury vacations. But most of us drive middle of the road cars and cherish our middle of the road vacations. A smart travel marketer will already know this, and not try to sell the same vacation to all market segments. Social media and travel technology make these segmented communications, not only possible but mandatory. They key is to offer the right vacation to the right person, at the right time.
Sell now, during selling season
If you are selling a specific destination, update your web site continually to offer the latest vacation options available. Change your offers frequently.
Once a looker moves on, they’re gone.
Only a different or better offer will bring them back.
In every outreach include a price and a call to action! I learned a long time ago that to be successful, you need to overcome the 3 barriers to sales—no time, no money and no need. There is no better time than the beginning of the year to tell travelers that you have what they want (the need) at a great price (the money) and that if they act now (the time), you can and will fill their travel dreams.
Have a Great Selling Season!
Bill is a veteran of over 30 years in the travel & tourism business. He has worked on both the supplier and agency sides. Most recently he served for over a decade as the CEO of ASTA. He is currently associated as a Senior Consultant to Partner Concepts, an Annapolis based marketing company serving Fortune 500 companies and many National Tourism Organizations (NTO). He lives in Alexandria, VA., where he also manages WAM Strategic Development. You can find him on Twitter @WldTrvlBill