It is important that you market your business as a travel agent online. This includes maintaining your website, social media, CRM, blogs, and emails.
It all starts by building a marketing plan and defining your goals. The goal can be getting more clients, establishing brand image, driving website traffic, increasing sales revenue, etc.
In this article, I will be focusing on some effective marketing efforts that you can start putting right away to get a consistent flow of clients.
Bringing clients is essential for all travel agencies/agents. If you are a travel agent, you will have to face a lot of competition in the market.
The good news is, the travel industry is exploding and this explosion is bringing in many new opportunities. This article is about using a mix of online and offline marketing to maximize growth and expand your client base.
So, here are the top marketing ideas and strategies for travel agents and agencies.
Online travel marketing is tough.
The competition is very high. Let’s talk about the first page of google.
Try typing the keyword “travel agent” on google. You will find around 1,790,000,000 results. That’s close to 1.8 billion search results for this keyword.
Research shows that the first page receives 95% of the traffic. So, 5% is left for 1,780,999,999 results. It’s scary.
Unless you are on the first page, you are going to have a hard time getting organic traffic for this keyword.
Online competition is tough, but, strategic planning and implementation can let you have a small piece of the gigantic pie.
Step one: Optimize your online presence
The first step is to set up a decent website which must be mobile optimized. Most of the travel searches come from mobile devices. If your website is not mobile optimized, you are missing out on some very potential leads. 50% of your visitors are going to browse your website through mobile.
Publish a new blog post every week that is search engine optimized. At the end of the article, include a direct call to action. By the time someone has submitted his contact information, he has read about you and your services.
Remember to make at least three client persona that you will be targeting. Without a buyer persona, your marketing will be like shooting arrows in the dark.
Here’s a reference for you.
Say you are targeting bankers who work 4am-12 pm a day. So, you will be targeting them with your online marketing when they are browsing on the internet. Your research has to be in-depth like finding their interests, their favorite blogs, their type of destination, their income, etc.
How is this going to help you? Simple, when they are planning for a vacation and you have already shown them an amazing itinerary within their budget, they are more likely to buy from you. The secret here is to grab his attention with an amazing article or blog post that he has to save your web address for future reference.
“About half of my leads are generated through my website,” said Fazendin, family travel designer with Tafari travel.
Step two: build your brand as a travel agent
The second step will be to establish your image on all relevant social platforms and getting active on all of them. The goal will be to build up a following and entertain them while marketing your services. You need to start posting on social media to let your audience know that you are not an average travel agent and that you work to create experiences for them not regular trips. This is how you are going to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
You have to create great content for your social media and they all must be targeted for the kind of audience you are trying to attract.
If you have an advertising budget, invest it in social media and advertise your services online. Nowadays, advertising can be highly targeted. Social giants like Facebook have an amazing bank of data that you can use to find a relevant audience and targeting them with your ads. This method is very effective if implemented correctly and can drive a lot of leads.
Now that you have your online presence, it’s time to focus on things that really drive sales.
Most travel agents are lost in webinars, seminars, and certifications and then think that now they will get clients. If it’s you, you will have to take a step back and rethink this strategy. Believe it or not, you are not going to get clients until you seriously start searching for them.
There are a number of ways travel agents can find clients.
The most effective way is to ask for referrals. Everyone is using social media and emails to connect with your clients. You can do some things a little differently. Say you just arranged a trip for your client to Europe. This client is very happy and refreshed when he returns back. What you can do is send him an email asking for his travel experiences which you can post on your social media. He is surely going to send you some of his best pics. Now, you can write a handwritten thank you note and ask him about a single referral.
When a client is happy and excited, he is more willing to help you help his friend who needs a vacation. This is how you can use the referral program effectively. You just need to learn how to leverage the power of referral. In return, you can reward your client with Starbucks gift cards, or a discount coupon for their future travel.
Warm marketing is always more effective than cold marketing in the travel industry. Travel agents rely on referral and repeat business mostly. If you want to increase your client base, you need to learn to market yourself strategically. Using both online and offline marketing can produce great results.
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