Travel consultants who build a successful and thriving clientele base think nearly constantly about marketing, often without labeling it “marketing.” It is important, however, to place marketing in its proper context. Marketing is not a hunger for client acquisition, a desperate rush of activity designed to make consumers notice your business. Rather, marketing is client-centric. It begins with assessing the needs of clients, designing ways to meet the need, and finally making sure that prospective clients know and believe that you can meet those needs. Over time, marketing raises the brand awareness of the travel agency with both existing and potential clients.
But understanding marketing requires reflection and study. Our culture offers many, many ways to study marketing. Smart travel consultants do well to become students.
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Pay attention to the marketing surrounding you. Spend some time with the marketing you encounter. Instead of immediately deleting the spam that arrives in your inbox…stop for a moment. Think about why you are going to delete it – study it as a piece of marketing. Why are you reacting to it the way you are? Look closely at the ads in your Sunday newspaper. What lessons are there to be learned? Think about the last marketing email that you responded to positively. What created that reaction in you? What drew you in and made you want to click on it or spend time reading? Think about other marketing that works with you – maybe an advertisement in the newspaper or something you have seen in a magazine. Why did it work? What grabbed your attention? What need was it addressing and meeting?
Take a look at Travelocity’s advertising on television and on the internet. What is working, what is not? Your competitor’s marketing – how do they execute? All around you are opportunities to develop a better understanding of the marketing craft.
Keep marketing at the forefront of your mind. Spend time each day observing the advertising and marketing of other companies. Develop a marketing mindset. Learn from every example. Some of the best ideas are borrowed and what works for other companies may well work for you.