Priceless Cruising — harsh criticism | TravelResearchOnline


Priceless Cruising — harsh criticism

A friend of mine is in charge of a group of 350 folks that are coming into town next week to tour the area. She asked if I would like to put a flyer about Priceless Cruising in the “goodie bags” they will be handing out. Of course – I’d be foolish not to!

So the past few days have been spent creating that flyer. My marketing guru taught me that when you create an ad, first identify the problem and then show how your business is the solution … in other words, “why” they need you.

I picked out an old cruise photo of mine (to grab their attention), created what I thought was a great headline, went into a detailed description of why I should plan their upcoming cruise and ended it with a ‘call to action.’ When I was done I thought it looked pretty darn good.

Then I thought maybe I should get some feedback from fellow agents, so I posted it on the Travel Agent Best Practices group on Facebook. I gave a short description of what the flyer was for and asked for comments, expecting lots of praise.

Within 15 minutes I had lots of comments; but they weren’t what I was expecting. The photo is too gloomy, your opening headline is too confrontational, your tone is too sarcastic, too wordy … you get the idea. I was flabbergasted, but when I looked back at their comments, they were absolutely right … it was all of those things!

I went back to the drawing board and revised, revised and then revised again, reposting my progress as I went along and getting more comments. The end result was now a flyer with a brighter, more enticing photo, softer headline, way less text, bullet points, as well as the addition of my photo, along with the call to action and of course, contact information. I had to admit that the end result, even though it looks absolutely nothing like the first draft, is a much better flyer.

So when I posted the final version, there were lots of “likes” and now the comments were … This is a winner, I like this, You should do great with this one, etc.

Not only will this flyer go into the hands of 350 potential new clients, it will also be a good way to test the waters. In June I’ll have a booth at our chamber of commerce Expo, which will draw about 3000 people, both business leaders as well as general public; so this test run will be a good chance to see whether the flyer works or not. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

(To follow up from last month’s column, things are moving along with my irate family member (email conversations have started up again) and the committee to select the Ambassadors for our chamber hasn’t even met yet, but I’m getting VERY good feedback from members of that committee individually, so that is looking good.)

Susan “Smitty” Price, ACC, is a cruise coordinator with Priceless Cruising, a home-based operation out of San Luis Obispo, Calif., that specializes in river and ocean cruises. She is an active member of the SLO Chamber of Commerce, SLO Women’s Network, two quilt guilds and the Alzheimer’s Association. Contact Smitty through, Facebook, LinkedIn or


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