TC Life

The Magic of Marketing at Travel Counsellors

When it comes to marketing, many business owners don’t know where to start. That’s why the Travel Counsellors head office has a team of people dedicated to helping franchisees to run their own businesses all over Australia.

From creating compelling video content to designing glossy travel brochures, running marketing training sessions and beyond, the marketing team’s mission is to provide Travel Counsellors with the knowledge, tools, guidance and support needed to run a successful travel business.

Having worked in travel for last 14 years, Marnie Pugsley knows the industry intimately. As Marketing and PR Manager, she is part of a global marketing team, leading the Travel Counsellors marketing team in Australia. She believes that the levels of support provided to Travel Counsellors are what sets the home working network apart from the rest.

Here she explains three major ways the marketing team enables Travel Counsellors to become better at marketing their business in order to attract more customers and make more sales:

1. Platforms

The custom-designed platforms used by Travel Counsellors are a standout. Phenix (the inhouse quote and book system) has a handy contact centre that allows Travel Counsellors to build their own personal customer database and develop their own marketing. They can also access analytics tools to better understand and market to their customers. From managing records to building marketing lists – the contact centre provides a solid foundation for Travel Counsellors to manage their customer databases.

“The contact centre enables Travel Counsellors to create personalised ecards, newsletters and more, but they can also opt-in to the weekly marketing that’s done by the marketing team on their behalf but personalised from them. This includes two weekly emails with offers and destination inspiration.”

The online Brand Centre is a wonderful e-commerce platform that provides Travel Counsellors access to order marketing collateral and branded merchandise. From branded stationary to teddy bears, luggage tags and travel document holders, the brand centre is a marketing one-stop-shop.

“Apart from ordering branded stationary and merchandise, Travel Counsellors can also use the brand centre to download personalised artwork for flyers and advertising. The Brand Centre has everything they need if they are planning on attending an expo, going to a networking event or holding a stall or stand at an expo or market,” says Marnie.

2. Marketing collateral and aids

Creating glossy brochures and videos is also all in a day’s work for Marnie. Print and digital media are important parts of the mix and are used to both reach new customers and inspire loyal clients to book their next trip. “We produce two print brochures a year, sent via direct mail to customers who have booked with Travel Counsellors before. Digital versions of the brochure are also available online. The brochures are another touchpoint for agents to connect with their clients throughout the year,” says Marnie.

“We get lots of positive feedback from Travel Counsellors about the brochures which do drive inquiry. That’s the whole reason the marketing department exists - to drive inquiry from customers. So when we hear that inquiries have come through, it’s a really good feeling for us.”

Regular marketing updates using Yammer provide social media assets including images and videos to help Travel Counsellors build their online presence on social media and inspire their customers too.

3. Training

Understandably, many agents new to the whole working-for-yourself thing worry about how they are going to find new clients when they don’t have a retail store for customers to walk into. That’s why the ins and outs of marketing your own travel business are covered during induction and subsequent follow-up training sessions run by Travel Counsellors.

Travel Counsellors aren’t expected to be marketing guns, nor are they left alone to stumble through the marketing process by themselves. Instead, marketing is covered with a solid, half-day session during induction training. Afterwards, marketing is spotlighted again during follow-up training six months after new starters have had some time to settle in. Marketing is also covered at a higher level in the ‘Going for Gold’ program for Travel Counsellors who are ready to take their business to the next level.

Marketing tips are also provided throughout the year via webinars and e-learning. Always looking to come up with new ways to empower Travel Counsellors to market their businesses with confidence, Marnie has recently added something new to the mix. “I’ve just run a new initiative with one of our business development coaches. It’s called Marketing Bootcamp. We covered topics like how to drive traffic to your website via blogs, vlogs and social media,” explains Marnie. The 30-minute Marketing Bootcamp sessions were held via a group call and also recorded for Travel Counsellors to catch up on later if they can’t phone in for the session. And of course, we love going out on the road for TC on Tour to meet with our Travel Counsellors for face-to-face training as well!”

Realising that every customer (and Travel Counsellor) is different, Marnie tries to tailor the offering as much as possible. “Where we can, we develop the marketing program to develop the Travel Counsellor, no matter where they are in their marketing skill. When we have a new recruit, we establish where they’re at with their social media skills and overall marketing knowledge, then we try to tailor the program to them,” says Marnie.

“Likewise, every Travel Counsellor has a different customer base, so each Travel Counsellor will have to adapt how they speak to their clients. Ultimately, with a wealth of amazing tools at their disposal and the right support to use them, Travel Counsellors can achieve great things in their business – even if they start with little marketing knowledge.”

If you'd like to learn more about the marketing support that Travel Counsellors provides, get in touch with our careers team on 1300 889 123 or via email to connect@travelcounsellors.com.au.