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In a world where 93%* of travel buying cycles start with an online search, is there anything that will help you stay relevant and ahead of the game?
Yes, there is.
It’s your expertise.
Your expertise makes you a travel pro. You get to own it and develop it, and even better – your expertise will build your own personal brand.
Here are 12 solutions to help you elevate your game to the next level:
A niche product – whether that’s business travel, incentive group trips, adventure, retirement, disability access or swimming with pigs in the Bahamas – will give you access to markets that the online travel agents (OTAs) won’t be able to touch.
A combination of popular destinations and new destinations will make your portfolio sing. Add unique experiences, cruises and luxury vacations; throw in places you are passionate about. You could also set up a luxury holidays department.
2. CREATE PERSONAS OF YOUR CUSTOMERS
How well do you know your clientele?
Create various personas such as couples, families, honeymooners or retirees. Think about all the questions that they may have and the destinations they’d like to visit.
Your job at the point of sale can be a breeze, scroll down for to 8 (yeah, it’s all connected!).
3. BRUSH UP ON YOUR PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE
Doing your homework on destinations will give you further insights that can lead to personalization and that’s exactly what your clients are willing to pay for.
Profile different destinations, consider your different customer personas and what would best suit them in each of those different destinations – this way you will be armed and ready when they call or walk through the door.
New destinations: Read up on everything you can get your hands on - from local product to flights and suppliers, and connect with tourism boards offline and online.
Popular destinations: Put a spin on existing destinations by showcasing what’s new.
4. GO DIGITAL
Digital marketing isn’t an option these days. It’s HOW you go about communicating that makes all the difference. Your digital marketing strategy must include a mix of content marketing and social media.
5. PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
One of the best investments you can make is getting a designer to lift your online appearance. Sit back and watch great design drive your business.
6. CREATE CLIENT AND DESTINATION CALENDARS
Mark corridors, identify booking and travel windows.
Create one for your clientele by marking holidays, the booking and travel windows, and long weekends.
Next is your destination calendar - mark local holidays, and high and low seasons.
Figure out the best mix and match between your clients and portfolio.
7. LOOK FOR PROMOTION OPPORTUNITIES
Keep those booking windows ready and before the season begins, pull your promotions together, add discounts for early bird bookings. Negotiate with your suppliers and push destinations during low seasons.
8. GET A GOOD BRIEF
Here’s where your personas (point 2) come in handy. Ask your clients many questions and go beyond the obvious. You’re writing their story and setting the stage to add value to their holiday (point 10). The more you know, the more you can deliver.
9. KEEP IT FRESH
Be it offline or online, no matter how you connect with your clients, think how you can improve that experience and how you present your promotional materials - videos are a great way to inspire.
10. MAXIMIZE REVENUE
There are many touch points along your customer's buying journey that you can maximize your revenue with upselling and cross-selling, but how about this for an idea:
Mark in your calendar when your clients are traveling, when they reach their destination and when they are leaving – stay in touch, send them a message or call them to see if there is an excursion they may be interested in.
If you want to add genuine value, you need to authentically match your product with what your client wants.
11. BE A DATA WIZARD
And feedback is just one way you collect data about what went right or could be improved upon: Did you upsell or cross-sell? Was it fabulous? Great! Now use this information well.
Clients love a good story before making a purchase, so give them the perfect ending.
Random feedback will contain gems of information about your suppliers, hotels, tours, etc. Here’s your chance to change anything or keep it as it is. Read more about why data is your new best friend.
12. ENCOURAGE REFERRALS
Referrals are the perfect results for social marketers. If a customer has had an incredible experience with you, give them an incentive for shouting about it on social media by offering a discount on their next holiday.