This week we have been looking at 10 fundamental marketing principles that will provide a basis for consistent and successful marketing efforts. We have looked at the importance of developing a coherent message and communicating that message clearly and consistently. But there are two related, additional components that underlie all good marketing campaigns. Good travel marketers know their business and they love their business.
Know Your Business – To be successful in the business of travel consulting requires the travel agent to have a very solid understanding of both travel product and clients in order to properly match the two. Knowledge of travel product is not gained overnight, but is the process of ongoing education and study, and communication with suppliers and other travel agents. The successful agent spends a great deal of time building a proper foundation by studying and researching destinations and supplier product. While most agents eventually settle on a few key suppliers, they also continually seek out knowledge of new product and opportunities. Good marketers stay on top of industry trends and read trade and consumer periodicals. Many develop a niche where they can demonstrate a depth of knowledge unmatched by others. But these same agents know how to translate product features into client benefits. Good marketers know that the key to successful marketing is understanding what clients want and then meeting those needs. Most importantly, however, good travel marketers understand that, ultimately, they are not selling travel. Top travel agents are selling themselves – their expertise, their knowledge, their sound judgment and client advocacy – the ability to match exactly the right product with the right client.
Love Your Business (and Your Clients!) – Good travel marketers love what they do, and their enthusiasm shows because they become an expert at communicating their passion. But remember this: you are not in the travel business; you are in the helping other people travel business. Make your travel practice client-centric and ensure your marketing efforts clearly demonstrate a concern for clients by addressing client needs and solutions. The best travel professionals demystify travel for clients and find ways to make travel accessible. Good marketers talk with clients, not to clients, in their marketing efforts and personal encounters. This final principle is the “fuel” that informs and energizes all of the other principles. A travel agent’s passion for helping others to travel and for serving others will shape their marketing message and will provide clients with the simple assurance they are in the right hands.