Reason # 3: Travel consulting is a people business. The more people you meet and know, the more opportunity you have to grow your business. It really is that simple. Yet, many travel agents shy away from the fundamentals of good solid marketing basics – networking, word of mouth and public relations. The tactics that make up these three marketing strategies are absolutely key to growing most travel consulting businesses. Your task is to create an association in the minds of the people you meet – when they think of travel, they think of you. Networking, word of mouth and public relations are the way you create, amplify and increase the strength of that association.
This is not to say that there are not other marketing strategies that will pay real dividends. But almost all other marketing strategies are extensions of these three basic tactical arrays. Social marketing, for example, Read the rest of this entry »
After a travel professional has been in the industry for a while, it is easy to become disillusioned with the sales process. It’s not hard to understand why. The competition is fierce. Potential clients are jaded from an abundance of mis-information. The sales cycle can be a long one and then the client you have been carefully grooming for a big trip books elsewhere. At some point, we all need to step back and re-evaluate our perspective on sales.
When you gain a new vantage point you quickly realize something interesting. The glitch in the sales process has nothing to do with your clients and everything to do with you. Chances are you are approaching sales from the wrong perspective – your own. Clients don’t want to be sold anything. They want to buy a wonderful trip. Therein lies all the difference. Read the rest of this entry »
Your travel practice needs champions to assist in spreading the word about exactly how great you really are. As we have seen in this week’s articles, existing clients, friends, family and referral networks are all potential evangelists for your work as a travel planner. You can also generate buzz about your travel planning practice through consistent and well-planned public relations in your community. A good PR campaign is an important tactic, but one that is typically time intensive. The truth is consumers tend to have very short memories when it comes to positive information about travel consultants (they can remember a horror story until the end of time, however, but that’s another article). For this reason, efforts at generating word of mouth “at large” need to be consistent, planned and on-going. Read the rest of this entry »
We are devoting this week’s columns to the topic of Word of Mouth marketing. Over the past couple of days, we have established that Word of Mouth marketing can be encouraged and amplified by providing our existing clients as well as our friend, family and employees with the encouragement and the preparation necessary to properly describe your travel planning practice and its message. You can also generate word of mouth marketing by establishing both formal and informal referral networks Read the rest of this entry »
We are devoting this week’s columns to the topic of Word of Mouth marketing. Yesterday, we discussed how to best involve your existing clients in your word of mouth marketing efforts. There is a group of champions for your business much closer than your clients, however: your employees, suppliers, family and friends. Recruiting these “internal customers” to assist you in amplifying your word of mouth strategies is an important tactic. Having your friends, family and work colleagues Read the rest of this entry »
This week’s columns were devoted to the topic of Word of Mouth marketing. There are a number of “distribution channels” through which you can intentionally direct, monitor and amplify word of mouth (“WOM”) marketing. The most important distribution channel, by far, is your existing customers. The clients who know you best and who make up your core business are also your best prospects for spreading the word to others on a third-party basis. It makes good sense to ensure that they have all of the tools necessary to do so effectively. In a very straightforward and open manner, it is possible to not only encourage, but to actively recruit your existing clients as evangelists for your travel planning practice. Read the rest of this entry »
In March of 2001, the MIR Space Station was scheduled to fall to earth. Much speculation in the news centered around where the debris from the falling structure would hit earth. Taco Bell, meanwhile, placed a 40 foot by 40 foot target in the Indian Ocean and announced that if the MIR hit the target, every person in the United States would be offered a free taco. News stories began to spread immediately. Hundreds of newspapers and periodicals printed the story and the phones at Taco Bell rang constantly. Taco Bell had initiated one of the great Word of Mouth Campaigns of the decade. Read the rest of this entry »
Remember when you were in high school and how you hated it when people “talked about you”? Well, adult life is not all that different from high school. But as a travel consultant, you want people to talk about you! In fact, it behooves you to give them something to talk about. That, in fact, is the very essence of a good word of mouth public relations effort.
Word of Mouth happens with or without your participation. However, that does not mean it is out of your control and cannot be managed. To the contrary, you can promote and amplify your brand through a good word of mouth campaign. By strategically cultivating your message, you can help ensure that when people talk about you, they are saying the things you want the market to hear. Read the rest of this entry »
Word of mouth marketing is really no more than consumers providing information about you to other consumers. As a travel consultant, you know the value of a good reference. Smart word of mouth marketing encourages and gives people a reason to talk about you and your services. While word of mouth marketing happens with or without your participation, you can encourage and facilitate it.
One of the most important ways to facilitate positive word of mouth activity is to very directly ask for referrals from your existing clients. Give your happy customers a way of easily describing your services to others. Provide two business cards to each of your clients: one for them and one to pass along to someone else. Some clients reward their clients for referrals with a small gift. However, a “Thank You” note is also an acceptable acknowledgement of the favor. Read the rest of this entry »
Word of Mouth happens with or without your participation. Clients, for better or worse, are going to talk about their experiences with your travel agency. However, that does not mean it is out of your control and cannot be managed. To the contrary, you can promote and amplify your brand through a good word of mouth campaign. By strategically cultivating your message, you can help ensure that when people talk about you, they are saying the things you want the market to hear. Read the rest of this entry »
Word of mouth advertising is really no more than consumers providing information about you to other consumers. As a travel consultant, you know the value of a good reference. Smart word of mouth marketing encourages and gives people a reason to talk about you and your services. While word of mouth marketing happens with or without your participation, you can encourage and facilitate it.
One of the most important ways to facilitate word of mouth advertising is to actively ask for referrals from your existing clients. Read the rest of this entry »