weekend marked the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Long ago,
humanity lived by such agricultural markers. But your clients, and all of the
potential clients “out there” have their own schedules. They travel when they
are ready. Their travel plans have nothing to do with your preparations,
business plans or agendas. But someday, Ms. Client will look at Mr. Client and
say something like “Let’s go to Ireland this year.” Before they
next think of price or plans or preparations, will your clients’ thoughts turn
often, we treat marketing like it’s a bag of “tricks” and techniques. Sales
down? Better start marketing. What should we do? Email “blast”? Take out an ad?
What works? Maybe a tweet or two?
what if the timing of your email broadcast doesn’t coincide with your client’s
own timing? What if it comes three days after they booked elsewhere? What if
they see your cruise advertisement three days before they ever think about
odds of a random marketing effort crossing paths at the exact moment necessary
with a client’s needs are fairly slim. As the owner of a travel practice, your
task is to create positive moments of interaction with your clients and
prospects. Taking ownership of as much mind-share as possible is the key to
being always present and ready for opportunity when it arises.
goal is to create an association in your client’s mind with your company and
any mention of the words “travel” or “vacation.” You want the association to be
so strong and immediate that the client would not even think of travelling
without thinking of you.
that strong are not the result of sporadic efforts at marketing.
your brand in a community is a long-term commitment, the result of a campaign
of strategically sound tactics working together to raise the profile of your
travel practice. Marketing is a discipline. Marketing is based on sound
fundamentals, not on gimmicks. Saturating a market with your presence,
following up with clients on a continual basis, forming relationships instead
of engaging in transactions – those are the keys to being there when your
clients most need you.
the problem. There is very little real sales and marketing training in this
industry. There is no end to product training. But very few agents ever take an
honest-to-goodness sales course or a series of lessons in marketing.
resolve to stay top of mind. Take it upon yourself to get better at what you
Firstly, find good sales and marketing training and
invest in yourself.
Secondly, begin to ask your suppliers not just for
product features, but also for good lessons in the sales and marketing of
Finally, sit down and write down a marketing plan, or
at the very least, sales goals for yourself.
is something of a testament to our industry that so many travel consultants do
so well without what every other business sees as absolutely necessary –
written marketing plans. It begs the question- How much better would those same
travel consultants do if they turned their marketing into a constant discipline
instead of a part-time concern? How much more could you achieve if you brought
a real marketing focus to your travel practice?
is everything. It’s time to get serious about your sales and marketing
training. Your clients will very likely be travelling this year. Who will they
will think to call when they do?
Richard Earls is the Publisher of Travel Research Online, an online travel industry resource dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of travel agents.