the beginners travel marketing system

5 MUST HAVE'S TO GET STARTED

For anyone starting out with  travel marketing and creating a system that works to attract and convert new clients, there are 5 main things you need to do. Without sorting these out first any marketing you do will not only increasingly be labelled ‘a random act of marketing’ – one that does not perform how you would have liked it to in your head!

The good news is they are easy to sort and NOT expensive to do.

A | System set up to Maximise your Marketing Activities (AKA Your Must Haves)

Before starting any Marketing Strategy for your travel business it is absolutely imperative that you establish what your USP is ( Unique Selling Point). Many established businesses really struggle at this, seeing their competitors and saying ‘we do the same, how are we different’. This can’t be an excuse though as without a strategy you can’t begin to decide on what content you produce, what keywords you focus on and ultimately what customers you attract to you business.

Answer the following headings to establish your ‘reason for being’ ( example answers in italics)

(a) Who are you?

We are a Travel business based in [County – Country]. The business started in [year] and is owned by [ shareholders] and exists for [ why do you exist]

(b) What do you Do?

What do you market? Market segments, holiday types, customer type etc.

(c) Your Vision

e.g. [to be the pre eminent travel agent in region [county] or selling [holiday type] to [customer type]

(d) Your Mission ( or your Purpose Statement – see this blog article on redefining Mission Statements ( http://www.net-effect.co.uk/what-is-your-purpose/ )

e.g. to grow your % share of the sector / grow revenues by [ x% each year], produce enough profit to support x charity etc.

(e) Your Strategy

To grow revenues to £x million by e.g. 2020 and have 75% of the business in high end bespoke holidays.

Decide what channels you like using and stick with these. It’s not possible as a beginner travel marketer to master all channels.

Find out where your customers are and master those channels. At the time of writing Instagram and Facebook are the best channels to use to get started. But if your customer demographic uses platforms like Linked-In ( e.g. if you are a business travel agent) then master that.

Google Listing: Especially if you have a physical office/shop you absolutely must have this. It is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. That includes adding your business name, location, and hours; monitoring and replying to customer reviews; adding photos; learning where and how people are searching for you, and more. Sign up here >>

From the offset – you should set up email marketing. If anyone makes an enquiry you can ‘legitimately’ (under GDPR) add them to your marketing lists.

We know that typically users:

  • Look at over 20 websites when planning their holiday
  • When using someone new, cannot take in all the necessary facts for them to process why you are good at what you do.
  • Read email more than any other medium as it lands in their inbox
  • Email converts better than any other marketing method ( better than social media / adverts etc.)

You should:

  • Set up a list(s)
  • Create an automated sequence of emails to be sent over a period of days to new subscribers to introduce them to your business and why you are worth doing business with!

E.g.

Email 1: Who you are, how long you have been in business, testimonials , financial protection

Email 2: What holiday types you cover

Email 3:What destinations you are expert in

Email 4: How can a client talk to you / contact you

Then send 2 x monthly emails with latest offers / product / news. Segment lists if you can so that emails are most relevant to your target audience.

Ten years ago the default position for most people was one of trust. In the last 10 years that has reversed so that without either a referral, testimonials or other reviews of a product or service it becomes increasingly difficult to attract new customers.

In short – people expect to see reviews.

There are a number of review systems available. Depending on your budget you can achieve some success just using email marketing and then uploading testimonials to your website. This is easy of you have access to the CMS such as with WordPress.

Having reviews on 3rd party sites is a very strong call to action for customers. For instance – see how much more weight is assumed from a 3rd party site review like this one on Trusted Travel Agents than just on your own site.

YOUR ACTION PLAN

Advertising Systems: These vary between businesses. You’ll develop a system over time that works for you, but it will be discovered as a process of trial and error. 

You’ll have a clear idea from having developed your USP who your target audience is. With this in mind you’ll want to explore different advertising and promotion activities to see which works for you to attract new potential clients 

  • local events
  • in store events
  • facebook adverts
  • linked in adverts
  • google adverts
  • 3rd part affiliate sites
  • social media advertising
  • newsletter door drops
  • networking ( e.g. business groups / Rotary / etc.)

There is no magic to this … different businesses require different advertising mediums. You’ll need to decide what works best for you. Hint: for small businesses…. it’s usually a mix of all and a lot of grunt work! That means Facebook Ads, door drops, events, networking.

Depending on the budget you have available, you’ll ramp up your advertising accordingly. For small startups, and businesses just getting to grips with advertising, we recommend the following approach to advertising.

1. Choose the method that suits your business and you. If you don’t like or use Facebook, there is no point in starting with Facebook. It will be too big a mountain to climb ( and in any case, only advertising really works to drive sales on Facebook).

2. Get to like selling or find someone to work with / for you that likes selling. Not selling as in a ‘selling a holiday’ ( AKA taking a booking), but selling to people that have never heard of you. That means, networking / never being afraid to sell your services and selling at any occasion. 

3. Pretty much all online business start ups do some form of offline marketing to get new customers and successful offline businesses do forms of online marketing / advertising. Check out this easy to read book – Traction for help discovering how to find new customers.

Marketing Systems: What the Travel Marketing System does is enable any agent / tour operator to apply the same system to those potential leads that you have attracted with your advertising. 

Much of the system can be set on auto pilot and the remainder does only need to take less than 2 hours* per week. Really, 2 hours… everyone can find the time to do that. It’s less than 30 minutes a day!

* Typically all that is needed per week for a Single Branch Travel Agent

C | Travel Marketing System

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