Marketing for Travel Agents

Marketing is the process of communicate the value of a product or service to customers.

Where selling is all about one-to-one transactions, marketing is essentially about one-to-many transactions. Many text books suggest that marketing can be distilled down to just five ‘P’s — Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People. The term ‘marketing’ intimidates many people but as long as you can remind yourself that it is simply an extension of the selling process whereby instead of trying to persuade just one customer to part with their hard-earned money, you’re trying to persuade many — and not necessarily all at the same time. Like selling, marketing is as much an art as a science and whilst some people take to it like a duck to water, it is possible to build up your expertise and effectiveness in this discipline through a combination of hard work, repetition, observation, learning from your mistakes and being mindful of some of the following ‘principals’.

  1. Know your audience
    Successful campaigns get that way because marketers know their audience. They fully understand their needs, how to help meet those needs and how to create demand. Knowing and understanding your audience through proper market segmentation means a well targeted campaign that generates a profitable return.
  2. focus on the offer
    A marketing offer is the driving force of marketing promotions that drive results. In fact, market testing has proven that the offer is the most significant criterion for conversion. Focus on your offer if you want to be successful.
  3. Split test
    Never ever run a campaign without testing something. One of the most common is a split test which allows you to simultaneously test two versions of something. It can be a web page, post card, or email. Split testing is essential for improving performance.
  4. High production values
    Did you know it costs six times more to make a sale to a new customer than to an existing one? You can use newsletters to focus your marketing on past customers. Keep costs down by sacrificing frequency and high production values. If printed newsletters are too expensive, consider an e-mail newsletter sent to people who subscribe on your web site.
  5. Don’t sell on price
    This can often lead to discounting and lower profitability. Focus on creating so much value that the perception of price becomes less relevant
  6. Create value after sale
    As a marketer, it’s your job to understand your market segment(s) and build relationships and not simply dump people off at the front door of your agency and walk away. Focus as much of your energy on building relationships with customers as you do prospects.
  7. The power of bartering
    This is an excellent tool to promote your business and get others to use services. You can trade your product for advertising space or for another company’s product or service. This is especially helpful when two companies on limited budgets can exchange their services.
  8. Rotate marketing tactics
    No single marketing effort works all the time for every business, so rotate several marketing tactics and vary your approach. Your customers tune out after a while if you always sing from the same hymn sheet. Not only that but you will get bored. Marketing can be fun, so take advantage of the thousands of opportunities available for communicating your value to customers. But don’t be arbitrary about your selection of a variety of marketing ploys. Plan carefully. Get feedback from customers and adapt your efforts accordingly.
  9. Promotional activities
    Use cross-promotional activities to market your business — e.g. you print some DL or A5 flyers that promote another local business that is complementary to yours and they do likewise. Some examples would be a local camera shop or chemists that you recommend your clients to get their holiday snaps printed at or a local shop or boutique where they can purchase their new bikini-wear or suitcases etc. The idea is that you get to target a whole new audience that might not otherwise be using your services but who are in that frame of mind. The other partner retailer does likewise in promoting your agency as the preferred choice for people
    making their travel arrangements.
  10. Costless marketing activities
    Not all marketing initiatives or activities need to cost you money. So why not make reference to some special offer when your staff answers the phone — e.g. ‘Good afternoon. Thanks for calling ABC Travel. My name is Mary. Would you like me to email our latest offers to you?’ (or words to that effect! This way you can easily build up an email database for use with your CRM policy.
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