Marketing tips for travel agents

Having a good marketing campaign in place is crucial for travel agents to generate bookings in the fiercely competitive travel industry. If you own or work for a travel agency, consider implementing the following measures to attract new customers (and ensure you retain existing customers):

1) Send customers away happy
Retaining current customers can be vital when it comes to protecting your revenues and ensuring happy clients spread the word about your business. Make sure you keep your brand in customers’ minds by staying in contact with them after they have made a booking with you, perhaps by giving them promotional gifts like an airline travel bag printed with your firm’s logo.

You could also send them occasional emails reminding them of their itinerary details and advising them on things they should be doing in the run-up to departure, e.g. find and check passports three months in advance, sort out immunisations six weeks beforehand, start packing two days before take-off, etc.
2) Make your website useful
Research suggests that more than half of Britons look up and book their holidays over the internet, yet 29 per cent feel travel websites are difficult to get the hang of. Review your website and consider whether holidaymakers would find it easy to use and, if not, see what can be fixed to improve usability. Agencies specialising in web design can be hired to help you do this.

Don’t forget that price is becoming particularly important to travellers as the economic downturn continues to bite. Make costs as transparent as possible and, if it’s not possible to publish prices (e.g. for tailormade tours), ensure that it’s easy for consumers to get in touch with you to get a quote for their itinerary.
3) Harness other online platforms
Your website isn’t the only way to reach new customers. Businesses are increasingly making use of social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as more visual-orientated sites like YouTube and Pinterest, to capture the attention of would-be holidaymakers.

You could publish a YouTube video guide to a particular destination or create a Pinterest board filled with photos of spectacular views from some of the holidays you offer, before posting the link on your Twitter or Facebook profile and encouraging your followers to spread the word.
4) Go multichannel
While the internet can be a critical component of any firm’s marketing strategy, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only one, especially if you operate through bricks-and-mortar premises as well as your website. Make good use of the local press – e.g. newspapers, radio and magazines – and become part of the community through sponsorships, events and charity drives.

Direct mail is another channel that can deliver great results if used correctly (travel and leisure firms say direct marketing accounts for one-third of sales, according to the DMA). Keep previous and existing customers up to date with your offerings by sending them your latest brochure – and enclose a free gift like a printed pen to make sure they remember your brand!

What are your top marketing tips for travel firms? Have you followed any of the above pointers with success? Post a comment below and let us know!