An unfortunate temptation in marketing your travel business is to scurry from one tactic to the next looking for the next magic “trick” that will make clients come streaming through the door. The lure of the newest, the latest and great marketing gimmick is strong, but often comes at the expense of fundamentals. Thus, you sometimes see new travel agents that have not yet mastered the art of networking in their local communities leaping onto Facebook or Twitter to market their new travel business because they heard that some other agent, somewhere, managed to wring a sale out of the online world.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for creative niche marketing and I, too, am eager to learn of new media techniques for marketing. However, I am equally convinced that in the eagerness to quickly build business, too many agents dart from one “technique” to the next rather than honing tried and true fundamentals.
Even with social media, it is the media that is new, not the tactical efforts.
The truth is, it is far better to have one or two tactics that you can accomplish very, very well than a whole repertoire of marketing techniques to which you give marginal time and attention.
In the name of getting back to basics, then, let’s look at ten fundamental principles, two each day, that you will need to effectively market. Each principle builds on the next. Applied consistently, the fundamentals will then give a context to your investigation of new, innovative techniques for getting the word out. Here are the first two principles that will help provide the appropriate context for all of your marketing efforts:
- Figure out what works and do it again. Marketing is very personal and some techniques will work better for you than others. Examine your past successes and figure out what went right. Pull out some paper and a pen and write down a small narrative about your most successful client experiences. If you are new to travel, write down something about your former life, job interviews or social encounters. What works for you? Is it your enthusiasm? Your confidence? Your intimate knowledge of product? You empathy and concern for the client? Did you take on some marketing technique that worked well? See if you can detect a pattern in your successes and, then, seek to institutionalize your strength – keep it in the foreground of all of your client encounters.
- Figure out what doesn’t work and quit doing it. Next, honestly assess your worst client encounters. Resist the temptation to blame the client for whatever happened. What went wrong? Were you too “hungry” thinking about yourself to the exclusion of the client? Were you too eager to please, taking on clients or assignments on which should have passed? Did you apply some marketing technique that absolutely failed? Again, see if you can detect a pattern of behavior that causes unpredictable, unfavorable results and work it out of your business life.
The idea is to begin systematically designing your marketing tools to work in tandem with each other and to be reliably consistent. A better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses is fundamental to the process. Tomorrow, we will look at a couple of other important observations you might want to take into account as you build your marketing strategies.