Ultimate Guide: Creating a Travel Agency Marketing Strategy
Congratulations on deciding to follow your travel dreams! Working in the travel industry is one of the most rewarding careers you can have and has a collaborative and welcoming environment. Working as a travel franchise owner can be very rewarding as you grow your business and thrive on your entrepreneurial spirit. The lifestyle rewards include many trips across the globe while suntanning on the beach and servicing your clients as you grow your knowledge and expertise. With a little bit of help and guidance, you can learn how to create a travel agency marketing strategy that generates leads and brings in clients year-round. You’ll have a thriving travel customer base in no time!
Why Invest in a Travel Agency Marketing Strategy
It’s essential to get your name out there and grow your travel agency business, which is why you need to invest time and money into quality marketing. Most likely, your clients will ask friends and family for referrals and conduct their own online research. Or maybe they’ll come across an ad or visit a booth at a local event that you’re participating in. Getting your name and business in front of clients means strategically putting your information where they are most likely to see it. Simply put, marketing is a core part of learning how to create a business plan for a travel agency.
How to Market a Travel Agency
Every successful business has a marketing plan in place. Marketing a travel agency barely differs from selling any other product or service. In fact, it’s even easier since travel is such a fun and inspiring product to sell; nearly everyone wants to go on vacation!
Look for any opportunity to learn about marketing, even if it isn’t directly related to travel. Pay attention to which ideas apply to your specific niche or business and devise a plan to implement them in a way that makes sense to you.
Next, ask other travel franchise owners within your network what has worked for them, and have a brainstorming session. Write down as many marketing channels and ideas as you can, along with what resources you would need to implement each idea. Finally, create a solid marketing plan that includes all achievable ideas and put them in a realistic timeline.
Why You Need a Travel Agency Marketing Plan
When you’re just starting your travel agent training, it’s easy to skip marketing and go straight to the fun part of planning vacations. But first, you must get those customers! In marketing, you always want to consider whether the ROI (return on investment) is high enough to justify the cost. You need to have a travel agency marketing strategy in place so you have a direction.
Often, it is helpful to work backward. Set a goal for how many clients you want to reach within a specified time or how much money you would like to make each year. Do the math to determine how many clients/dollars you need each month. Use these numbers when creating your marketing plan to ensure you’re doing everything you can each month, and even every day, to reach your long-term goals. Having those goals set and working on detailed marketing efforts will help you reach those clients and make money.
How Do Travel Agencies Attract Customers?
Birds of a feather flock together, and so do travelers. There are plenty of options to get the word out to fellow travelers about your new business. Consider your resources and strengths and use marketing strategies that utilize these components.
For example, does your community hold bridal fairs? You could be the honeymoon expert! Many local events provide opportunities to set up a booth and hand out information. Do you prefer this face-to-face sales strategy to an online one?
On the flip side, are you great at writing and social media? Do you love interacting with people online? If this sounds more like you, you may want to begin marketing in these channels first.
An important thing to remember when learning to market a travel agency is that hard work pays off, and overnight success is unrealistic. You will need to put in the time and repetition if you want to see your numbers grow. Spend a portion of every workday reaching out to potential clients in one way or another.
Sample Travel Agency Marketing Strategy
Your travel agency marketing plan will be unique to you and your needs, but there is a basic formula you can follow. Be sure to add personalized details and goals to formulate a strategy to ensure your success.
Set both short and long-term goals that are measurable and realistic.
Consider the time of year, upcoming holidays and current trends to determine what to focus on during which months.
Choose marketing channels and ideas to implement.
Gather resources needed to put ideas into action.
Take action with daily, weekly and monthly tasks.
Monitor ongoing progress, including which marketing channels bring in the most clients.
Evaluate what is working and what isn’t, and make changes as needed.
Follow up on changes and continue evaluating progress.
Travel Agency Marketing Ideas
If you need help making a list of travel agency marketing ideas, use the suggestions below. The more marketing channels you take advantage of, the more potential clients will see your business. However, it’s important to pace yourself if needed; start with a few at a time and add more later.
How Can I Promote My Travel Business Online?
A large portion of marketing happens online. If you’re part of a Dream Vacations Franchise, we’ll provide you with a booking website that is managed and maintained on your behalf. Since the number of destinations and types of vacations is infinite, managing the content, reservation system and promotions on a travel website of your own would be a huge undertaking for an individual.
Utilize Social Media
Setting up a social media presence should be one of your first steps to open a travel agency. Your social media presence should be the celebrity version of you! Show off your travel adventures from when you went snorkeling in Cancun or to that beautiful villa in Tuscany.
Share candid, professional-level vacation photos that show off some of the highlights and your favorite moments. They can be from your personal vacations or from clients you helped book (with their permission, of course). Post regularly and advertise new travel packages as they become available.
It’s also good to include a variety of content. Try to keep it within your business realm, but do it differently. For example, share humorous travel memes, or incorporate current holidays and how people celebrate them in some of your popular destination spots. You can also create interactive posts asking for feedback from your followers. For example, ask, “If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be and why?” or pose a trivia question and see who can identify the location.
Finally, join online groups such as Facebook travel groups that allow non-spammy self-promotion. Often, group members will ask for tips or advice, and you may be able to offer help with their travel preparations or make valuable connections. Also, use one or two social media platforms that you feel comfortable with. The more people you reach and the more times they see your content, the more likely they will come to you when they’re ready to book.
Create an Email List
Mailing lists are one of the most powerful ways to connect directly to your existing community of travel enthusiasts. Your website should have a prompt to sign up for your mailing list. Also, anytime you have someone fill out forms in person, ensure there’s a spot for an email address.
Your email list is one of the simplest and most essential marketing tools. Send regular emails that provide value to the customer and remind them that you’re there when they are ready to book a vacation.
Nowadays, people want to know that others have had positive experiences with you and your services. They also want to know they can trust you, and you can help their impression of you by including positive reviews on your social media pages and Google Profile Business listing.
Remember that not all reviews need to be positive to build trust and loyalty. In fact, many readers intentionally look for negative reviews to find out why a customer gave a low rating. Negative reviews are your chance to show customers how you respond to problems. Use them as an opportunity to showcase how you resolve them.
What Other Ways Can I Promote My Travel Business?
In addition to online marketing, there are plenty of other creative and inexpensive strategies to include in your travel agency marketing plan.
Send Out Postcards and Direct Mail Pieces
Like an email list, you can collect addresses from potential clients and include them in a mailing list. Then, periodically send them postcards that advertise a travel package or destination and include your contact information.
Take Out Ads in Local Publications
Any circular that goes around your community regularly probably has ad space for sale. Reserve a spot as often as possible to remind people about your business and how you can help them.
Hand Out Business Cards
Use every networking opportunity available and hand out or trade business cards with anyone interested. They may call you in the future or pass your card along to someone they know who is planning a vacation.
Set Up Booths at Fairs and Local Events
Many events include space for vendors to set up booths and sell their products and services. Some events are made almost entirely for this purpose, such as bridal fairs, craft fairs and travel fairs. Create an eye-catching display with beautiful travel photos and videos and allow potential clients to join your email or mailing list or enter to win a prize.
Do your best to connect with like-minded individuals. For example, Dream Vacations is one of the best franchises for veterans. These franchise owners may want to take advantage of legion events to connect with their unique community.
Rely on Word of Mouth
Word of mouth can be one of the most powerful marketing tools. People love to ask their friends and family about their experiences, especially with companies they are unfamiliar with. You may even benefit from offering a referral incentive.
And, of course, you can tell people about your business yourself. Practice an introduction of 30 seconds or less, sometimes called an “elevator pitch.” When you meet someone new and ask what you do for a living or what your hobbies are, you’ll be prepared with a short answer that lets them know you’re the one to come to when making travel plans.
Use Your Suppliers
Many of the other companies you work with as a franchise owner will be willing to collaborate with you on occasion and co-fund your marketing efforts.
Wear a Travel Shirt (or Branded Shirt)
Branded shirts will start conversations with others while you are out and about in your community. You’re practically a walking billboard!
Call a Travel Franchise Your Own!
Do you want to work from home? Or from a little café on the streets of Paris? Dream Vacations is one of the most affordable franchises for travel enthusiasts looking for a new career or remotely as generating extra income. A company full of travel lovers, Dream Vacations Franchise offers free or discounted travel to our franchise owners to help them explore the world themselves. All you need is a reliable internet connection!
As a franchise owner, you’ll have complete access to our training and support, which includes marketing and business development. So, if you’re still unsure about your own travel agency marking strategy, let us help you! Sign up for our next free Dream Vacations Franchise webinar