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.
Marketing has two goals: the retention of existing clients and the acquisition of new clients. From existing clients you achieve stability and it is from new clients you achieve growth. When you design your marketing properly, both your existing clients and new clients first notice or are reminded of your presence, investigate your offerings and finally enter into conversation with you about the services or products you offer. At this stage you have an actionable lead and enter into the sales cycle.
The process of drawing the potential client closer and closer to you, finally resulting in an actionable lead, is sometimes referred to as the “Marketing Funnel.”
The value of a web site for a travel agent 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 American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) report titled on 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 web site in marketing your travel agency.
As you have heard us say before, websites for travel agents should be all about the travel agent! Voyager Websites is pleased to announce our newest widget, the Voyager Places Map Widget. This nifty little app allows you to place a map on your site, displaying your own travels around the globe so your clients can get an idea of your expertise in travel planning and in particular destinations. The Places Map Widget is simple to place on your site. As always, don't hesitate to give us a call if you need more information or need some assistance!
As you may know, I’m currently engaged in a study of travel agency websites. Indulge me for a moment and consider the merit of my strongly held belief: consumers don’t need another place to buy travel. Consumers have an almost unlimited access to travel product. They can buy direct from suppliers, from other travel agents, from monster-sized online sites, and from organizations and clubs like AARP or Costco.
Travel, travel everywhere. Most travel agents will overtly agree with the idea they do not sell travel. However, too often their web sites betray another self-image. On the home page of many travel agency web sites, dozens of supplier logos flash at the viewer like the reels on a slot machine. Most of the text is about suppliers, supplier properties and features. In fact, there is often very little information about the travel agency at all, and what information is available is couched in vague language about “great customer service.”
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.