Why They Call It Marketing | TravelResearchOnline


Why They Call It Marketing

In theory, the distinction between features and benefits is generally well understood by most travel agent marketers. After all, we call it “marketing” not “featuring” – we want to address the needs of the market. Unfortunately, the difference between features and benefits often does not clearly appear in travel agency marketing materials. Company brochures, websites and other marketing collateral proudly list the many features of the travel agency’s services instead. The temptation to do so is easy to understand. We all see things  best from our own perspective and what we know and understand best as travel agents are the many features of the services we offer. But that is not what the client is looking for in your agency.

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Take a hard look at your marketing collateral. Is it filled with features?

  • ABC Travel is the largest agency in the tri-city region;
  • Our agents have a combined 150 years experience in travel;
  • Each of our agents is required to attend frequent destination specialist training;
  • ABC Travel belongs to Mega-Consortia, Inc.

Let’s take the “And what’s that mean to me?” test to get a new perspective. Assume the role of a client who asks the question “And what’s that mean to me?”

You: “Our agents have a combined 150 years experience.”
Client: “And what’s that mean to me?”
You: Well it means I have lots of experience
Client: “And what’s that mean to me?”
You: Well, it means that I am familiar with the destinations, tour operators and the cruise lines I recommend to my clients.
Client: “And what’s that mean to me?”
You: It means that I will select and plan the perfect trip for you and your family from among the thousands of suppliers and opportunities available.
Client: “And what’s that mean to me?”
You: It means that you will enjoy your vacation more. It means that you will have a better vacation experience, and you will enjoy the value and the investment that you’ve made in your vacation. It means that you will have memories of a lifetime and that your family will be brought closer together in the experience of travel.
Client: Now I understand what that means to me!

The test is a good way to move your perspective from features to benefits. The last few answers really got to the crux of the matter as it relates to your client. It is not that the features of your company have no relevance. Rather, the relevance of features is strictly in the context of the benefit to your client. Clients are interested in the features of your services only to the extent that they in some way derive benefit from them. When you address features by placing them in the context of benefits, you demonstrate an inherent empathy for the needs of your client; and that’s what the client wants to hear and believe.

Make a list of all of your travel agency’s strong points. Now, give each feature the “And what’s that mean to me” test. The list of benefits you end up with will be the beginning of the emotional connection to your clients required for authentic marketing.

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