Travel is a crowded field, and it is hard at times to be noticed. Or is it? This week we are going to look at five tactics to raising the visibility of your travel agency’s profile in your local market. Each of the techniques we are going to review will center around one or more marketing concepts that we have discussed many times in The 365 Guide. Each will be relatively inexpensive to implement but, as always, will require a commitment of time and energy. The pay-off, however, will be a greater brand recognition in your community. When people think of travel, they will be more likely to remember you and your agency.
High Profile Tactic #1 – Strategic Networking
This column has devoted much discussion to the topic of networking. Travel consulting is a people business – it’s all about the relationships you form with existing clients and others in your community. As a travel consultant growing a practice, you want to approach networking strategically rather than haphazardly. You will want to target organizations, events and individuals in your community that can assist you in reaching a desirable demographic. However, that does not mean that you have to place yourself in the service of organizations with which you do not share common ideals. For example, if you love animals, actively involving yourself with the local humane shelter can quickly acquaint you and your agency with dozens of potential new clients. The goal is to network with people who are active in the community and placing your personality at the center of involvement. Choosing organizations and causes with which you have a real interest and sympathy will make it easier to integrate into your business life in a comfortable manner.
Networking is about finding your market, not waiting for your market to find you. By involving yourself in the community, potential clients see you in a context that is more selfless than a promotional effort might otherwise be perceived. Seeing you in a context where ideals and values are shared is a certain way to garner both personal and professional support.
Let no opportunity go unnoticed! To return to our example of the local humane shelter, perhaps you donate on a regular basis or sponsor some aspect of the local shelter’s operation. If so, involve yourself in the name of your company to promote your brand. Get behind fundraising efforts and volunteer wherever possible. Your involvement will cause others to notice you and to the extent others agree with your cause, will identify and want to associate with your brand.
Involve yourself in your community passionately. If you want others to understand the degree to which you will advocate for them as a travel planner, demonstrate your passion in community contexts as well. Try to achieve an “insanely great” factor in all of your efforts. Amaze those around you with your dedication, your devotion and character. Over the top involvement will raise your company’s profile and draw like-minded potential clients into your sphere of influence.