Have you been asking yourself, “will my business survive this pandemic?" It’s no surprise that…
Admit it…your travel agency isn’t growing like you thought it would.
You’re working your business and gaining new clients, and people say they like working with you, but you’re not getting the results you want. Your phone rings but it’s not non-stop. And traffic to your website is coming in at a trickle.
And yet you wonder…
Do you need to be patient, waiting for clients and sales to increase?
Or could it be that, you don’t have a solid marketing plan, or any plan [thus breaking a rule of business], and everyone who booked travel with you did so because it was fluke that they found you.
Don’t worry. There’s hope. Read on to learn the seven key components of a marketing plan and start growing your travel agency today.
Key Components of a Marketing Plan for Travel Agents
Choose Your Niche
It’s important to understand the power of specializing and choosing a niche. The more focused you are on who you want to serve, the easier it will be for you to brand yourself and serve your clients with various partner product offerings. If you focus on too many travel niches, you won’t be able to market effectively to your customer. In fact, you may confuse them because they won’t know who you are as a travel agent.
Select Your Target Market
Once you’ve chosen your niche, you’ll want to define your target market. For example, if your niche is adventure travel, you may want to focus on marketing to millennials, those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Your approach to marketing to this group will be different from any other. Why? Because millennials review blogs and vlogs before buying anything because they perceive these to be authentic; they’re innate belief is that advertising is just a spin and not authentic.
Conduct Market Research
Even if you think you know your niche and target market inside and out, you’ll want to conduct market research. You may create Google Alerts such as ‘travel and travel industry’ or even in your niche, for example, ‘family travel’. You may also subscribe to Travel Agent Central, Vacation Agent, Travel Industry Weekly, and any other publications that will provide you with the necessary marketing research for the travel industry.
Competitors are everywhere – never assume they do not exist. However, Travel Planners International is a top host travel agency and offers travel agents a variety of product offerings and education. From the agent’s perspective, it is smart to know who the competitors are in your space or niche and learn their competitive advantage. What is travel products do they offer? What is the price point? What segment are they targeting? Knowing your competitors will help you to position your travel agency and stand out from the competition.
Create a Budget
Create a month-to-month budget using a spreadsheet. Label the horizontal rows January-December. Underneath, label the rows with Budget and Actual. Label the vertical rows with marketing items such as direct mail, email marketing, etc. For each month, enter a Budget and Actual value. Get a total and compare the difference to see the variance – are you under or over budget? If a marketing item is not generating a sufficient ROI (return on investment), you’ll want to analyze why and determine if it’s worth the money to continue.
Define and Track Metrics
Tracking metrics can make the difference in growing your travel agency. You can use Google Analytics or website conversions and a simple spreadsheet to compare budget vs. actual ROI (see above). However, you want specifics that relate to your marketing message, social media updates, reviews, etc. Test marketing programs up to a 60-day period and analyze results. Use programs that deliver results and stop using those that don’t.
Marketing and Differentiation Strategy
Travel agents who want to get on the path to sales goals need to know how to attract their most likely clients. You’ll want to look at the whole marketplace and breakdown specifics such as email marketing, social media, direct mail, events, webinars, content strategy, partnerships, and other activities that will help you gain access to clientele. Keep in mind that your marketing plan must outline what differentiates you and your agency. Pricing is one differentiation. Technology and customer service are others. It’s up to you to find and deliver your USP (unique selling point).
Working your travel business without getting results is disappointing.
Particularly when you’re passionate about what you do.
But creating a marketing plan can have dramatic effects on your travel agency.
Imagine having an inbox filled with confirmations from current and new clients.
Picture earning commissions up to 90% and feeling satisfied, not frustrated, and earning a living that you desire.
Imagine yourself waking up every day smiling, not frowning.
To start, sit down and think about your marketing plan and outline it.
Consider your niche and choose the one that excites you. Keep those that have potential but don’t focus on them.
Do this and you could take your business to the next level in a short few months.