Gone are the days of teletext to book your holiday in minutes!
OK, so I’m aware I’m showing my age here, but does anyone else remember clicking through holidays that were loaded as text on your TV? Now you can access the internet via smart TVs and book your holiday within a matter of clicks, but believe me, it was a slow and very clunky predecessor!
Although we have the power to book holidays at the touch of a button, travel agents’ expertise is still in demand. So how does your content show up for you?
Facing the road ahead
It’s a frustrating fact that with the ease of online facilities, travel agents can get caught in the trap of doing all the research for potential customers, only to have those customers go home and book the exact same holiday online. How rude! Your job then? To showcase your value over and above the booking process.
Your website will of course have holiday details on there, so how do you entice your customers to book with you, rather than elsewhere? You can, of course, offer enticements money off the next holiday booked or vouchers for the destination – but that can lead to a “race to the bottom” and you compete with the big online bookers, who can run a holiday at a loss to attract trade. Travel is a buyer’s market, and you need to work hard for your commission nowadays.
So, play up your personal service, end-to-end packages, and the advantages you can offer as a travel agent should something go wrong. Anyone who has booked on the internet and then had a holiday fall apart because the flight was cancelled (discovering that the airline had no intention of refunding for the hotel, hire car, and excursions all booked elsewhere) will recognise just how much an agent can do for them.
Know who your target audience is
Not being clear on who your target audience is can make for a dwindling customer list. If you only offer premium holidays for travellers, don’t waste your time on advertising that reaches those who want cheap and cheerful destinations. Be really clear who it is you want to serve. This should include everything from your website to which magazine you choose to advertise in. Save time by choosing one or two target magazines or newspapers and see what comes through. You can always build on your success from there.
Another common mistake is to rely solely on a distant head office to make all your content decisions. Only you know your local area, so take the opportunity to incorporate what local people are looking for into the franchise’s marketing strategy.
Ask your customers for help
Creating a simple customer questionnaire can sort through who you can help, but you must have a robust system in place to be able to politely decline those who aren’t a good fit. This can all be set up as a landing page and then automated so they get the right kinds of holiday offers, regular newsletters and you get reminders to call for follow ups.
Another great piece of content is to use testimonials to show how you add value. You can do this by asking customers specific questions rather than presenting them with a blank space to write anything. How did you help that particular client? Did you support them if they got sick on their holiday? Were you able to find the perfect hotel AND a local celebrant, so they could get married in the Caribbean? Ask your clients to write about specific parts of their experience, so you get a wide-ranging set of testimonials.
As travel agents, establishing a client list is a great way of targeting holidays to the right people. Invest in a process that sifts through content and only sends what is relevant to particular clients. Do they like safaris and adventure holidays? Send them what you think will entice them to book with you. You’ll make them feel understood and they are more likely to go with a business they can trust than one who doesn’t take the time to know what they want.
If all these ideas sound like an adventure to you, but you don’t know how to start your journey, call us today for a free content review and we’ll get you packed and ready!