Is it hard to believe we are only slightly more than three short months from 2019? It certainly is for me. During the next three months, you can do yourself no greater favor than to begin working through a marketing plan, a budget and a calendar for 2019. Getting into the travel planning business is very easy. Staying in the travel planning business is a bit more of a challenge. True we can sometimes simply luck our way through, but in so doing we inevitably waste resources and miss opportunities. Working with a plan is absolutely essential to achieving the best possible results. Sporadic marketing, chasing one opportunity and then another, seldom resolves in a productive manner.
The very act of planning is often as important as the resulting plan. There are any number of tactics you might choose for your marketing plan. What is important, however, is you market consistently, using a plan to hold yourself accountable. A consistent method is important to the overall success of your marketing efforts.
Too often, we treat marketing like a hand tool pulled out of the box only when needed. Marketing, however, is not a part-time activity or something to be used because business seems a little slow. Effective marketing is a mindset, a constant preoccupation for the successful travel professional intent on growing their business.
The experienced marketer is always thinking about marketing opportunities. If you are not marketing, not only are you not growing, but you’re probably losing ground. Marketing is not just about the acquisition of new clients, it is also about the retention of your existing clients. Marketing is the engine that both maintains your business and drives your travel practice forward.
How to choose appropriate tactics? Don’t feel obligated to jump into any particular tactic just because others seem to be using them. Social media is a good example. While I think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter definitely have a place in agents’ marketing plans, those tactics are certainly not the only marketing activities worthy of consideration. More important for most agents is getting away from their computers and desks and involving themselves in their community as real-life human beings. Networking, volunteering, showing up physically in your community lets people see you on a 1:1 basis and gives your travel practice a face and personality. Each agent must design a plan that flows with the bend of their own nature.
It is absolutely true many travel professionals, perhaps you, have worked for years without a written plan. If so, it is a testimony to your innate marketing skills. What might you accomplish if you took the recommendation of every business consultant I have ever read or met and actually wrote down a marketing/action plan and tied it to a calendar?
With consistent effort applied to a plan with intelligence, you will see better results than you would have thought possible.