Personally, I am a fan of interesting tattoos. I know that is not necessarily a shared preference. Body art is not for everyone and please do note my preference: interesting tattoos. I have certainly been exposed, to use a phrase, to some very bad tattoos.
If you have an interest in a tattoo, I suggest you heed this bit of advice: this is no time to choose an artist based on the lowest price. You don’t want a tattoo that looks like prison art (unless, of course, you were actually in prison) and you don’t want one that looks like your six year old’s rendition of Woody Woodpecker (unless, of course, the tattoo is your six year old’s rendition of Woody Woodpecker). I could go on but I think you get my drift: this is no time to save a few dollars.
I know I have chosen a risky metaphor here, stick with me a bit.
If you are going to get a tattoo, one thing is certain: a bit of research pays off. Think about the message. Think about the design. Think about your mother. Think.
You probably know that fewer than 10% of your followers on Facebook are going to see any of your business page posts. The organic reach on Facebook continues to decline. The Facebook algorithms are getting more restrictive yet many business page owners are surprised by their low engagement rates. The surprise partly stems from their experience with their personal Facebook profile which always generates commentary and "Likes". However, the algorithms controlling the visibility of personal posts are completely different from those controlling business pages.
In a personal service business like travel consulting, it is easy to forget the importance of fundamental marketing techniques and concepts. One such neglected topic is the art of visual merchandising – developing the visual creative to accompany your advertisements, proposals, presentations and other client communications to enhance their appeal. Properly done, visual merchandising makes it easier to engage both the client’s emotional responses to your presentations and their intellectual understanding of your offer.
"Is marketing on Facebook really necessary to my travel practice?" The answer is a resounding "No!" There are many different ways for anyone to market their travel practice and Facebook is only one possible vehicle.
But there is a really good reason for marketing on Facebook every travel consultant should consider: Facebook is where the people are.
Facebook has more than 1.86 billion active users who visit the venue at least once a month. Of those, 1.26 billion visit Facebook daily. Those are absolutely staggering numbers. There are times when I have my doubts about the longevity of Facebook, but with such high current activity levels it is very difficult to ignore the potential. Consider this - do you know more people who use Facebook or who do not? How many people do they know? The possibilities for expanding your circle of influence are large.
The value of a web site for a travel professional is real. Many continue to operate without a web site and even if they have one, without due consideration for basic design and marketing principles. However, consumers expect business operators to have a web site and the real question is more often the role the website will play in the overall marketing plan of the travel agency. An ASTA report titled Technology & Website Usage revealed some travel professionals using a Facebook page in lieu of a website indicating a degree of confusion about the role of both a Facebook page and a website in a marketing strategy. It's worthwhile to again consider the role of a website in marketing your travel practice.
People have always shared their travel dreams and adventures with others. Early on, travel magazines, brochures, home movie projectors and Polaroids were the media of choice. Now, the game has gone digital, but the themes are largely the same: “I love to travel and I know you do too. Where should I go next? What should I do? What should I see?”
In fact, travel appears to be one of the six most discussed topics on social media. This tells us if we do our marketing well we can generate thousands, even hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic followers, evangelists all. Of course, if we do it poorly we can spend a lot of money and time only to decide marketing doesn’t work.
A web site is a great marketing tool for your travel agency – if anyone can find it. Let's discuss how to drive traffic to your site and how to properly cross pollinate with your other marketing efforts, combine it with a bit of search engine marketing and throw in some good social media techniques as well. Soon, you will be driving more high quality traffic to your website and getting a better return from your website investment.
Travel professionals choosing to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to market pretty quickly learn what works in their favor and what does not. I am more often hearing success stories from travel consultants who are finding social media an excellent way to stay “top of mind” with their clients. Unfortunately, I am also seeing an increasing number of posts many in the social media world would deem socially unacceptable.
In many ways, Thanksgiving is the greatest of holidays, a reminder of the debt of gratitude we owe to everyone and everything around us. It is always tempting to magnify our losses and minimize the ordinary, daily miracle. We long for big, outrageous fortunes and forget the small, mundane but truly astonishing gifts. One day of the year, however, is a reminder to contemplate the undeniably interdependent nature of our existence.
Everything is connected. Not one of us is truly "self-made." We don't have to look far to find people and institutions deserving of our thanks. Every success we enjoy, every small achievement, is the result of an interplay of grace and circumstance.
The relationship between you and your clients reflects the temperament of your travel practice. The more open you are, the more easily you encounter your clients and the more gracefully you carry your industry knowledge, the better your relationships. The travel professionals with the happiest clients did not win their approval with pricing or vague notions of customer service, but with the power of a relationship.