Based on current industry trends, digital marketing is definitely the way to go if you want to capture market share but there are also a range of other things you can do in the traditional space. Here are 10 great tips for you - as a travel consultant - to get those calls coming in.
1. Social media is a must
If you’re not on social media yet, it’s time to jump on. 87% of millennials are using Facebook to get their travel inspiration. Why is this important? Because by 2028, Millennials are expected to be the largest generation with an estimated spending power of $200 billion.
Travel Counsellor’s digital and innovation director, Waseem Haq, urges Travel Counsellors to embrace digital tools. He extols the power of video on social media, explaining how a customer-made video of a trip to Lapland generated a 28% increase in bookings. You could also share your own travel adventures like Travel Counsellor Hamish Naicker from the Penrith area, who often gets over a hundred comments on his holiday pictures.
2. Run a competition
People on holiday take lots of photos so if you’re thinking of what competition to run, a photo or video contest is always a good choice.
It’s easy for customers to enter and gorgeous destination images are always very shareable (make sure people include your business name on them.)
As a prize, perhaps you can offer something travel-related such as an exciting holiday package, or something as simple as a travel diary or travel pack.
3. Start a blog
If you have a website, you can use it to host a blog. This is the perfect place for customers (and potential customers) to learn more about you. Many Travel Counsellors specialise in a specific area they are passionate about such as responsible tourism, adventure travel, wine tours or family holiday experiences.
Your blog is a good opportunity for you to showcase why you’re different from other travel consultants. Choose an area you are interested in and start blogging away. You’ll be surprised how many people drop you a line because of the connection they form with you and what you share.
4. Email marketing
Ah, the good old EDM. It still works. Email is still the most popular online activity used by adult internet users, trumping other online activities such as instant messaging and online social networks.
Email can help you build relationships with your existing customers and if timed correctly can catch them when they’re just starting to plan a holiday. You can send them emails about an exciting new deal or interesting holiday ideas.
(Hint: You don’t always have to create new content. Sometimes you can just repurpose stories from your blog.)
5. Referral program
Word of mouth is one of the oldest and most trusted marketing strategies of all time - and it’s still very effective today.
Many Travel Counsellors get new business through recommendations from satisfied customers, and the myTC app makes it even easier to spread the news.
With the app, happy customers can share your ‘online business card’ with family and friends with a tap.
The app is also linked to your customers’ social media accounts so they can easily share photos and videos of their trip.
6. Partner with other small businesses
Another way to spread the word about your business is to team up with local businesses in your area. Is there anyone you could collaborate with such as a local fitness centre, supermarket or bookstore?
It could even be your favourite cafe - that little place you work from down the road.
Have a chat and see how you can work together. For example, you can come up with a joint promotion, or leave flyers at each other’s establishments. Small businesses can help each other out in all sorts of ways.
7. Use printed material
Printed brochures are sent to Travel Counsellor customers twice a year, and have been found to be very effective in inspiring action. We’ve seen a 23% increase in cruise bookings year on year after the twice-yearly release of our cruise brochure, which is available in both online and offline formats for our customers.
As a Travel Counsellor, you also have access to a merchandise store called the Brand Centre. Jump on to see how you can create and download your own flyers; or order printed material and banners online. In an increasingly digital world, sometimes print can make you stand out.
8. Marketing collateral
Business cards are standard. What other things could you use to market your business? There are all sorts of interesting marketing items you could put your brand on from post-it notes and magnets to things that are more travel-related.
Again, the Travel Counsellors Brand Centre is a treasure trove of ideas offering items such as travel mugs, pens, rock-climber clips and USB sticks.
9. Radio’s resurgence
Radio advertising is actually bucking the trend and continues to go from strength to strength. Ad spend on radio has jumped from $1.15 billion in 2017 to $1.17 billion in 2018.
People who heard a radio ad were six times more likely to search for that brand online. As such, advertising your travel business on the radio may be well worth the investment. You could also consider other radio-related ideas like hosting a travel show on your local radio station.
10. Be visible in the local scene
As a small business, it’s important to carve out a presence in the local community. Tamsin Catto from Point Cook, for example, built her client base from zero by setting up a stall at her local community market.
You can also organise local events such as an information evening at your neighbourhood library or community centre. Even though a lot of a Travel Counsellor business is conducted digitally, establishing a local presence is useful to build your brand.
Some Travel Counsellors place advertisements on their car, wear a uniform with their contact details or sponsor a local footy match. What could you do around your area?
To find out more about how other Travel Counsellors are marketing themselves or running their business, browse through our blogs. If you are an experienced travel professional, contact our careers team to take the next step in your career.