One of the chief complaints consumers have about advertising is it is often inappropriate – either wrongly targeted or misdirected. Often, travel agents will blanket their client lists with advertising that betrays a lack of concern for the needs or concerns of the individual client. For example, not everyone is a fan of cruising. Repeated advertisements for a cruise vacation directed at the wrong client will cause the client to doubt the sincerity of the travel agent. If the travel counselor is truly about the service and not the product, if a travel planner’s practice is really client centric, then the needs and preferences of the client come first and a stream of wrongly directed advertisments will callous the relationship.
Sending your clients appropriate advertising and marketing materials is an important tactic. Providing materials that are within the interest categories indicated by your clients demonstrates that you are paying attention to their needs. The process begins with a solid client interview and profile where you have an opportunity to record client preferences and travel ambitions. Beyond the initial profile, however, a good CRM program is a must for any agent with more than a few clients. Most CRM programs can segregate clients by their stated preferences to allow the travel counselor to send appropriate information geared to client interests.
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Naturally, there will be a point in time, early in a relationship, when you may not know the precise interests of the client. Solicit their feedback on your newsletters and offers. Ask for their preferences and take the opportunity to discuss their life-long travel plans.
In addition to knowing client interests, however, it is necessary to have a solid understanding of supplier offers. No two suppliers are alike, and their products, the demographic of their clients, the quality of their hotels and the tenor of their activities varies considerably. Choose suppliers that have a strong correspondance to the preferences of your clients.
What to do about the problem: Properly match supplier offers and information to your clients and only send information you deem appropriate. You will find that the receipients of your marketing better appreciate your efforts.
Tomorrow: Reason #4: Advertising is Coercive and Narrow