Even though most travelers research trips online, many still prefer to work with travel agencies. According to Nomadic Matt, 43 percent of travelers use agents when booking flights and besides that, the insights and personalized service can be useful and appealing. Travel agents also have significant experience and business relationships with certain tour agencies and hotels, which can both benefit clients. Many agencies have taken a hit these past few years or closed up, though; what are the best ways for agents to market their businesses?
1. Make the Most of Google My Business
Potential customers are likelier to find your agency if it is listed through Google My Business, according to Honeymoon Always. Claim your listing, and add as much information as possible. It’s free to get started, and you can also use it to solicit reviews, add photos and advertise in other ways. Make sure that all the information is correct, and update it once a month or more.
2. Tell Everyone Why You’re Special
There’s a lot of competition out there, but Travel Planners claims that you can stand out by determining and focusing on a niche market. You could specialize in family travel, 55 and up travel, and so forth.
3. Be Active on Social Media
Open up accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, and start posting photos and videos to get people interested. You can link these to a YouTube channel and your agency’s website, and start getting friends, family and business associates to follow and stay engaged with your accounts; if they start sharing, the good word will spread.
4. Use Referrals and Rewards
Offer rewards to clients who refer your agency to new clients, even if they don’t end up booking trips. An inexpensive free t-shirt is always appreciated, but something they can really use like $500 off their next trip is even better. Be sure to promote this on your social media and website.
5. Guest Posts from Authoritative Sources
You can ask other travel agencies that cater to different markets, companies you partner with (like hotels) and travel experts to write some posts on your agency website. You can do the same for them, and it can become a win-win situation.
6. Email, SMS and WhatsApp
Your company website needs to have “Contact Us,” inquiry forms and email subscription forms. These can provide you with email addresses and numbers to send out marketing communications to. Don’t flood inboxes and voicemails with too many messages though, or they’ll quickly delete you. Instead, send out messages when you have new deals and special promotions.
7. Your Travel Agency Website
Besides the “About Us” webpage on your site, you’ll want to have fabulous graphics and videos to inspire people to book trips with you. Have an informative blog that features things like tips for visiting Europe, plus travel guides for specific destinations, resource pages (travel packing lists, currency conversion information). This will all help with your SEO, as will incorporating the right keywords to help you get to the top of search engine results pages.
8. Creative Content Marketing
With so many competitors out there, your website can get lost and never be found by potential customers. Creative content marketing focuses on the art of storytelling, and can create emotional bonds with the people who read it. Research other travel agencies, see which ones stand out and use them as an inspiration to craft your own brand in a new, unique way.
9. Get Free Press from HARO
HARO (Helping a Reporter Out) is a cool website that matches up sources and reporters. Sometimes you can find reporters looking for experts to write for the site’s travel section, and you can offer to contribute for free; seek out sources for your site, too.
10. Remain Consistent, Always
Your website, social media channels and other marketing communications must all stay consistent with one other; don’t post about a special deal on Instagram and not on your website. Your logo and slogan should always remain the same too, unless you decide to rebrand. And remember to stay in touch with clients too, because if you forget to follow up in a timely manner, they’ll find another agency that will.