Being Accessible | Travel Research Online


Being Accessible

Mike Marchev has a saying every travel agent should repeat each day: “Your clients are somebody else’s prospects.”  With others in the marketplace vying for the attention of your clients, it is important for you to consider exactly how accessible the public perceives your travel business. Accessibility is sum of the characteristics that makes you easy to remember, easy to find, approachable, likable, and worthy of trust. Each of these elements are wrapped up in your approach to the market and should be given fair consideration as you position your company in your community.

PictureThe public’s perception of your accessibility is shaped by how often they see your brand and the brand image you project. If the elements of your branding indicate a luxury travel niche, many consumers will be drawn to it and some portion of the market will find it unapproachable. If your branding efforts emphasize family travel, with images of children and families enjoying vacations together, then you will very likely attract that demographic.  There is nothing wrong with either approach, but it is vital  the brand you intend to project is indeed the brand that is reflected in your marketing efforts.

Your company name, logo, and contact information need to be “front and center” in each marketing effort you undertake. These are the key graphical elements by which your marketplace will identify and reach out to you. Reproduce these elements consistently in each and every point of contact where appropriate. The familiarity you thereby create is an important component to the sense of accessibility people will have of your company – they will feel as though they already know you, who you are, and what you do.

Likewise, your public relations efforts in your community should be geared to creating a fundamental familiarity with your branding and market position. The more “present” you are in your community, the more networking you undertake, the more events you sponsor or for which you volunteer, the better known will be your brand. The friendlier your persona, the more approachable you are and the degree to which you can engage your clients on an emotional level, the more approachable and accessible you will be perceived.

Remind your clients that you are there.  How often do you reach out and touch each and every client in a personal way?  How about a phone call, a hand written letter, or a lunch?  Not to sell anything, but just to say “hello!” Want clients to think of you as accessible?  Begin by first approaching them.

People do business with people. They want to engage with people they like, appreciate, and trust.  If your company has a flat, dull persona, it is not likely consumers will perceive it as approachable.  Clients want to do business with a personality.  They want to know the people in charge of their plans, running the company, and protecting their interests. Your marketing should be charged with personality.

The energy required for marketing in this manner is considerable. Being in business requires a dynamic yet focused awareness of the impact of one’s brand on the public. For a travel consultant engaged in very personal one-on-one services, this means a personal investment in time and energy. Because, as a travel agent, you are your own brand.

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