Sit down. Be quiet. Come here. Take this. Run there. Wake up. Go to bed. It seems all our lives we’ve been told to do things. And it hasn’t stopped since we’ve become adults—well most of us have become adults.
Today in the travel industry we are constantly being bombarded with suggestions and best practices from those in the industry. You have to specialize. You must charge fees. You have to sell this resort. Don’t sell a non-preferred supplier. And that is all pretty solid advice for most agencies. But are you most agencies?
Maybe. But first you need to ask the question “is it right for my agency?” And surprisingly, you (and the industry insiders) are likely not to be the best person to answer that question. While you receive checks from suppliers, you need to take a step back and see what set that all in motion—the client. Before you earn any income or grow your business, someone needs to walk in that door, send that email, or make that phone call. Why not ask them?
Recently (and periodically) I did just that. I wanted to make sure I was giving my clients what they wanted from me. I cannot afford to tick them off and drive them away. Survey Monkey is a great tool and it can be free.
I asked them how they like to interact with the agency and the answers I received surprised me a bit. My website was at the top of the list followed by my monthly emailed newsletters. I thought that social media would be a prime way as well. And today, it is not. My clients tend to be moving away from (or at least cutting back on) social media. Facebook is not as popular (cool? hip?) as it once was. Twitter still has a place but the audience is much smaller. And my clients are looking to social media for what it likely was developed for—keeping in touch with friends and family.
I dug a bit deeper and re-emailed those that responded and found out that although they do not interact with known brands as much on social media, they are indeed seeking out NEW brands to discover. Was it a “love em and leave em” situation? Perhaps. Most of my clients would look into a brand, like their page (or follow them) and either decide to keep up to speed with them via their websites or emails, or abandon them.
This really shocked me and leads me to believe that social media may be a good tool for client acquisition (Facebook ads) but not so much for retention. Of course, your clients are different than mine, and your results may vary!
Another interesting insight from my survey was that a decent number of my clients would not object to being notified of a new blog post, newsletter link, etc. by text message as long as it was not excessive. Again, I was surprised and I need to consider if I want to invest in a system to do that.
Our agencies are constantly evolving and the only thing we know for certain is that the old way of doing business is not the new way of doing business. Take some time to step back and ask some questions—you might be surprised!