This is a column from 2015, and a key lesson from our new course on travel marketing.
I admit to being one of the few people who liked The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. The movie is a reminder of the importance of travel to the human psyche. Travel is not just a mechanical act of movement from one point to another. On occasion, it helps to be reminded of this small and obvious truth: travel is often an outward expression of something happening internally.
The macro-history of mankind is about a vast, never ending migration. From one continent to another, we have been explorers, adventurers, pilgrims, refugees and travelers. Coiled up in our DNA is the urge to move beyond the horizon. On an individual level, it’s the rare person who has not felt moved and even changed by their travels. We go seeking the unfamiliar and we instead find some hidden part of ourselves in the faces of the people we meet, in the cultures we encounter and in the languages with which we struggle.
I raise this point here to remind you of the wonderfully amazing opportunity you have to play an important role in the lives of so many people. As the manager for your personal brand, you are charged with engaging your clients to “go on vacation” or to “take a cruise” or to “stay with us.” Maybe. I think their request of you might actually be a bit bigger than that.
The public doesn’t care about your brand
The public doesn’t really care about your brand. They care about their lives, their plans and their travel ambitions. There’s a little Walter Mitty in all of us, right? That’s who we should reach out and touch in our newsletters, advertising, posts, tweets and Instagrams. Maybe it’s all about feeding the flames of inspiration.
So step back and take a moment before you make the next post about your brand. You’re the magician that can make amazing things happen for your travel clients. Everyone carries a dream in their head of things they want to do and places they want to go, a romantic vision of themselves on the road.
Help your clients dream – about themselves
A truly great travel consultant will take keen interest in their clients’ dreams.
You have clients who have never seen the Alps, who don’t know about the Inca Trail and who have heard of Prague but don’t know where it is. Help your followers dream a bit. Take them beyond what’s familiar and comfortable, at least in their minds. Inspire them with great photography, videos and testimonials. Let them know how possible travel is not just for the few, but for them. Empower your clients. Don’t talk about yourself, talk about them. Help them get in touch with their inner Walter.
A few of those followers will travel farther for your effort. Some of them will travel with you.
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