This is the fourth article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market yourself as a travel agent.
One of the major benefits you have as a travel agent is that you're selling something everyone wants, and you don't take direct fees for your services. The trick to business success then is in proving you're the right agency to help clients plan their vacations. To do that, you'll need intelligent marketing distribution.
Direct mail is one of the best ways for travel agents to earn clients. Repetition is crucial to direct-mail success, but you don't want to overdo it. For travel agents there's a fine line between being aggressive and becoming a nuisance, so carefully choose who you should send your direct-mail marketing pieces to and why.
Make sure you have a highly targeted mailing list for your direct-mail campaigns to increase your odds of success. If you don't already have a good customer base or are seeking new customers, make a list based on targeted demographics or hire a list broker to find the best list for you.
Here's a sample direct-mail marketing campaign for travel agents:
Week One: Send a postcard announcing a special one-time only vacation destination deal.
Week Six: Send a flyer with upcoming destination deals so your customers can take advantage of them now - bookable up to a year in advance.
Week 12: Send a calendar that showcases favorite destinations and includes travel tips, tricks and discount coupons.
Week 18: Send a newsletter full of travel news, destination ideas, vacation tips and personalized messages from you to brand your business.
Week 24: Send a booklet about a major vacation topic, such as deciding where to go or how to be prepared, and make sure you pepper it with your business information and deals. Your topic could also be about the top travel destinations in the upcoming year, and you could make it an annual publication that customers look forward to receiving.
Week 30: Send another postcard with another great destination package deal.
Advertise with flyers and posters on bulletin boards, billboards, walls, under windshield wipers, and as inserts in newspapers, magazines and other publications. Take out ads in radio, television, print and online programs. Deploy a street team to hand out flyers and stickers. Also, host or sponsor an event or publicity stunt to get free PR. Speaking of PR, don't forget to distribute press releases to relevant media that might publish your deals and/or interview you regarding travel tips to help you establish credibility.
Look for online social media network opportunities to get the word out about your deal, and work to get customers on your website and e-mail newsletter. The more avenues you pursue, the more likely you'll pick up a large customer base that yields an incredible income.
Test, track and tweak: These three Ts will help you develop winning travel agent print marketing campaigns. Always test different variations of your marketing materials on small portions of your mailing list before launching the full campaign. Sometimes a single word change can make a big difference in your return on investment.
Keep a database of your clients, and evaluate recognizable trends so you can customize your pitch, which will allow you to make intelligent marketing decisions based on honest, proven statistics. Doing so will help you fine-tune future campaigns for almost-guaranteed success.