Thursday, Aug 31, 2023
We all know how it feels to be rushed off your feet at work, but something we seldom hear discussed out-loud is the stress of being without business. While a deluge of emails and phones ringing off the hook have been known to send agents into a bit of a tizzy, wondering where this month’s commission might be coming from is as big a concern as any.
If you’re reading this post, odds are you’re currently experiencing a lull at work. But fear not! We’re here to help you drum up demand…
Before you can fix a problem, you need to have an idea of what it might be. Does your agency focus on a travel niche? Which channels are you using to advertise the business? Considering these points (and others like them) are crucial to resolving the problems you may be facing.
Niches are fantastic. There are so many companies out there who struggle to cut through the noise simply because they’re too similar to the competition, but by focusing on one type of holiday or experience, you’ll have the ability to hone in on (and successfully capture the business of) a select group of travellers. But what happens if your niche falls out of favour? The key to this problem is to diversify – not by a lot, but by just enough that you’re able to keep the cash coming in during quieter months. Say if your agency focuses solely on skiing holidays; during the down-season, is there any way you can appeal to a likeminded audience? Consider offering experiences that align with skiing, perhaps switching the snow out for hiking or mountain biking; alternatively, try thinking of other travellers who could love the destinations you sell in, even if they’re not the type to take to the slopes. A trip to the sauna after a day spent strolling around snowy Innsbruck’s quaint stores sounds delightful, doesn’t it?
Waiting for the phone to ring, emails to come in or traffic on your website to increase is never a good idea. You’ve got to appeal to the masses, and a great way to do this is by joining social media. While somewhat time-consuming, social media can be an inexpensive and extremely effective part of what takes your business from ‘unknown’ to ‘must-know’. An Instagram page is probably one of the most essential things a travel agency could have, not least for the #inspo and its influence on booking habits; similarly, Facebook is crucial if you’re hoping to target would-be customers with affordable ads.
Top tip: social media is king when it comes to customer queries and will likely increase a level of trust!
There are a multitude of issues which could be resolved with just a little ingenuity – in fact, something as simple as staying in contact with past clients through automated emails could keep you in the forefront of their minds. If you’re going through a dry spell at work, utilise that time wisely by viewing your business with a bit more of a critical eye. How would you benefit if you were in the client’s shoes?
There’s power in following trends. This is something that we at Bedsonline know for sure – and it’s also the reason that we launched our search and marketing tool, Insights. By providing agents with a snapshot of the live travel landscape, our tool makes it easy to identify opportunities that you should be booking. Simply put, Insights does the hard work for you – rather than searching for what’s in demand, we’ll put the data right in front of you.
All that’s left to do is sell…but how?
In order to bring in business, sometimes you need to be more forthright…and as the old adage goes: if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
One way of encouraging money to flow is by reconnecting with old clients. By reigniting a pre-existing (if slightly dormant) relationship, you’ll be tapping into potential which simply does not exist with new customers: after all, if your past client was happy with your service, you can rest assured that they’ll trust you enough to book their next great adventure. Consider dropping them a friendly email ‘just to check in’; casually discuss your own travel plans for the year ahead and gently enquire as to whether they’re dreaming of a getaway. By keeping things simple, you’ll not only build on your rapport, but you’ll be reminding them who to come to when the time is right to travel again without seeming forceful.
Top tip: if your client starts ‘umm’-ing and ‘ahh’-ing about a potential trip within the next few months, consider offering an incentive to get the ball rolling – this could be anything from a free night’s stay in their hotel of choice (covered by your commission or slipped in alongside a cheeky ITX fare, if you offer flights!), to free access to an unmissable activity in-destination.
While you have the attention of your past clients, you might also consider asking them to leave some feedback for future clients to refer to. In the event that the past client happens to make a nice comment in the natural course of your conversation, you could ask them if they’d mind you sharing their words on your website or social media feed. Compliments from past clients can go a long way towards attracting new business, so this is definitely a tip you should aim to follow.
Step four: appeal to the masses
This step takes a little more courage and effort than the above but, if done properly, could provide you with some major rewards. (It also relies on having the spare time to do it…but if you’re reading this post, time is probably all that you have right now!)
An underrated but very powerful tactic for agents is to become a source of information for the masses. If you work in the industry, chances are you have a mind full of impressive travel knowledge – be it about a particular destination, global cuisine, the differences between major airlines or any other topic. That know-how must go somewhere, and one way that you can put it to good use is by starting a blog.
Assuming your travel agency has a website, adding an extra section to accommodate need-to-know information or anecdotes could go a long way to increasing your online traffic. Be sure to do a little research ahead of writing your blog posts (free tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or answerthepublic can offer an idea of what people might be searching for), add a link to your blog posts in your email signature, and watch the clicks roll in. In addition to helping boost visitors to your website, your blog will also serve as a valuable and insightful resource for existing customers too.
If you’re feeling extra brave, consider putting your communication skills to even greater use by contacting popular travel websites or blogs and asking if you can write a guest post. This is a fantastic way to reach a pre-defined audience of travel lovers who could someday become clients of your very own.
This final step is one that we wholeheartedly believe in, and the current stats for what travelers want from their customer service suggests is the way to go! And that’s customization. It’s a great way to drum up engagement, and to get potential customers invested in you as a seller.
Did you know that 71% of consumers expect personalized interactions, no matter what service or product they’re buying?
When it comes to curating a tailored experience for your clients, from the outset, there’s nothing that achieves this better than a customized travel brochure. Whether you need to offer more inspiring information about a customers’ destination of choice and offer some incentivizing hotel choices, or if your clients need a little helping hand deciding where to go next, tailoring a travel brochure to their specific needs is an invaluable way to create a more personal connection.
Luckily, this is a feature that our Star Brochure offers to our partners! It’s the flagship product that thousands of travel advisors all over the world know and love, but with customizable functionalities that allow you to create bespoke marketing materials on a client-by-client basis! This can quite often be the difference between securing that sale or losing your client to a competing agency offering more tailored services.
From bespoke welcome messages, choosing to keep in our premium, inspiring articles about their locations or adding your own, to adding your unique branding and sharing options to suit every type of traveler, the Star Brochure is fully customizable to meet all your clients’ needs from the get-go! This means they’re more likely to book with you, and more likely to keep booking with you.
Discover more about our 100% online travel brochure, the Star Brochure, and its customization features!
Which of these tips have you found most helpful? Be sure to let us know by tagging us when you share this post on social media!