Limiting myths are the stories we tell ourselves to justify a timid approach to building our travel practices. Most limiting myths have a small truth somewhere in their origin that over time takes on a far greater importance than their reality suggests. By examining these myths, you can greatly diminish their influence in your travel practice.
Here's a limiting myth we will tackle: "You cannot compete with the big online travel agencies."
This limiting myth is not true. In fact, the online travel agencies (OTAs) cannot compete with you! But only if you play to your strengths. Let’s see how.
My father once told me "Never play the other man's game." Smart marketers build their efforts around inherent specialties and strengths. If you try to compete with the OTAs playing by their rules and imitating their tactics, you will quickly find yourself out-matched. So don't do that. Instead, compete with the online travel agencies using your own set of tactics geared to and fueled by your own strengths.
While it is typically the technology forming the greatest barrier to entry, I often see critical mistakes made in execution and practice. Marketing is not a one-way stream of information, but a careful and deliberate conversation with clients. Many travel professionals confuse marketing and advertising, so their efforts at marketing look more like newspaper advertising than conversations with clients.
I admit to being one of the few people who liked The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. The movie is a reminder of the importance of travel to the human psyche. Travel is not just a mechanical act of movement from one point to another. On occasion, it helps to be reminded of this small and obvious truth: travel is often an outward expression of something happening internally.
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.
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.
It is important to your digital marketing plan to consider incorporating a blog into your travel agency’s website. However, with so many blogs vying for attention, you need to take steps to ensure your blog will stand out and speak with an authority that captures the attention of your readership.
As a professional travel consultant, you have a real expertise on a topic of interest to the public. The key to delivering blogging articles that truly engage readers and eliciting comments from them is to generate content that is lively, unexpected and fresh. Making sure that your blog is communicating on both an intellectual and an emotional level will keep your audience returning to your blog for new information.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.