Travel Agent Marketing: Branding

This is the first article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market yourself as a travel agent. As a travel agent, your job is to get your clients the best deals for the best destinations possible. Communicating your dedication to that goal is paramount to success, and this is where branding comes in. When you have a powerful brand image, your clients trust you to have their best interests at heart. The following details how you can develop a winning brand image so you can help clients enjoy the times of their lives.

Importance of a branded image

In business, a branded image is your logo, tagline, colors, fonts/typesets and other attributes that visually represent one's company. For travel agents, a brand image isn't just a palm tree on some sand - it is the ideas and emotions that establish credibility and make customers trust you to handle their travel arrangements. Your brand sets you apart from the competition, so that when customers browse your literature you're the outstanding No. 1 choice in comparison to others.

How to identify your branded image

You can identify your branded image by answering the following questions:

  • What do you do?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Where do your customers travel?
  • What are your customers' values, passions, likes and dislikes?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What do you do different from, or better than, your main competitors? Are you more knowledgeable, cheaper or premium high-end, or do you offer a guarantee?

Next, list the results of all your research. Turn your answers into benefits that describe your travel agency. Jot down short phrases that describe what you do best and different, then carefully study and rework those phrases until you develop one that precisely describes your company's benefits. This is your tagline, and it lays the foundation for all of your branding efforts.

Branding through design

Skilled graphic designers can transform your branded identity from a written concept to a visual motivator. Hire a designer to develop a logo that encompasses your tagline and helps your clients connect with you. This will be your identity; it is what the world will see, and the public will perceive the ideals and emotions that your image expresses. Your logo should go on all of your communications: business cards, brochures, sales sheets, stationery, website, corporate identity kit, posters, flyers and more. Consistent branding, throughout time, establishes your credibility in the travel industry and will transform your travel agency from just another listing in the phone book to the go-to agency when your customers want to go somewhere.