Continuing on my list of resolutions inspired by Travel Pulse, this week, it’s all about being proactive. Earlier this week, I read an article about a local shopping center that is in the process of reinventing itself (might be paywalled). The thing was that this upscale center was only eight years old and they were already reinventing. Their reason was to combat the increase of e-commerce. Sound familiar?
We have been battling the Internet for 25 years in the travel industry. I think we can all agree that we can do it better, but the consumer may not want that. So to remain relevant, we need to make sure we are adapting as we move along. Gone are the days of a Yellow Pages ad and an illuminated open sign in the window. Like the center in my neighborhood, we need to give clients a reason to get off the couch and visit us. We must be proactive!
And there are countless ways to be proactive and I encourage you to leave your suggestions in the comments! As for my thoughts….off the top of my head…here are five!
- Touch your clients and prospects. There should not be a month that goes by without your clients and prospects hearing from you. Monthly e-newsletters are a must. If you don’t have any news or specials you aren’t paying attention. And remember, don’t always be selling them. Sometimes a simple “hello” will do wonders. Need an excuse to say “hello”? Here’s your schedule for a year—New Years, Valentines Day, First Day of Spring, Earth Day, Memorial Day, First Say of Summer, Independence Day, the Dog Days of Summer, Labor Day/Back To School, Halloween, Thanksgiving, First Day of Winter/December holidays. Boom, there you go! And here’s a bonus, you can schedule these twelve emails right now and forget about them.
- Get involved. We all live somewhere. We all have a community. It might be a metropolis with dozens of neighborhoods; or it might be a little farming burb in the middle of Nebraska. It does not matter. Get involved. Book club. Church. Poker night. It does not matter, just get out there and let people know what you do.
- Use the media. Sure they have their hands full right now with what is happening (or actually is not happening) in Washington; but they are starved for stories that are not Trump focused. Pitch stories about your agency and how it differs from the Internet sites. Emerging destinations. Traveling wit kids. Traveling safety. Places to avoid. How to solve problems en route. You get the idea. If you still have a local paper, make friends with a leisure reporter—take them to lunch and ask what they want. Don’t forget “new media” as many blog sites, Facebook pages, etc. have a larger following than the traditional media. Still not sure— HARO…well it’s now called Cision H/A/R/O….whatever that means!
- Go old school. Old school still works. Buy business cards. Lot’s of them. Pin them up on bulletin boards in the local Starbucks or grocery. And not just one….put six of them under a thumb tack. I carry a box of tacks and some tape in my glove box if needed. Join a networking group. Personally I despise them, but I know many travel professionals who work them well and reap the rewards. Rotary, Kiwanis, American Legion—all those service and Veteran’s groups often look for speakers at their meetings. Bonus: they all make GREAT groups.
- Go new school. And while the Internet is a competitor for us, it is also a friend. Dollar for dollar there is no greater bargain than a Facebook ad. It does not matter if you create an ad or boost a post (Facebook will prompt you to boost well performing posts), do it. Even if you put aside $20 per month in your budget it will be worth it. But, dig into it before and learn how to target the proper audience. And it goes without saying that before you do that you need to know your own audience as well.
OK, I am approaching my word limit, so now it’s your turn. Give me some ideas o how to be proactive in the travel? Leave a comment!
Next week? Increasing profit!