Increasing sales for a travel business is a balancing act of retaining your existing customers and finding new ones. You probably wondered many times how to increase sales in the travel business, right? We will give you some tips on how to make it by doing these 3 things properly:
- Finding corporate clients.
- Marketing your travel agency services.
- Advertising your travel packages
This article will provide ideas and strategies on how to market and advertise your services, but firstly we are going to focus on your most important source of income: corporate clients.
How to find corporate clients for your travel agency
Get out and meet prospective corporate clients
Research the most appropriate companies in your immediate area and make an appointment to go and speak to their procurement manager. Keep in mind that you have a pair of strengths that should help you get your foot in the door.
Firstly, most companies are pleased to meet another local business and can see the advantages of supporting the local economy. Whether you are a start-up or a well-established business, you can emphasise your entrepreneurial energy and enthusiasm or your long-standing heritage and reputation.
Secondly, travel is a fun and enjoyable subject, so it will be far more interesting for the procurement manager to discuss the company’s travel needs rather than how many paper towels are needed in the bathrooms.
And once you can demonstrate that you can save them money while delivering a professional and personal service, then you are well on your way to sealing the deal.
If you are already working with the main corporate clients in your immediate area, then widen the net and make appointments to see businesses inside the next 10 or 20-mile radius.
The drawback to making appointments in person is that it is time-consuming, but the reality is that for a client to make you responsible for their five or six-figure travel budget, there is absolutely no substitute for face-to-face meetings and building personal relationships.
Remember too that by getting out there, you are actually underlining the importance of travel for your prospective clients. Even in our global digital age where conference calls via UberConference or Skype are the easiest option, the most important business meetings still happen face-to-face.
Strengthen your B2B relationships
Keep an open mind and be aware that your business partnerships may take different paths. For example, you may come across new suppliers who give you better discounts than your present ones or you might become a supplier for other travel agents who have fewer discounts than you.
In all cases remember that you are one part in an eco-system and your professionalism and cooperation with your B2B partners is the way to gain larger sales and profits for all of you, in addition to giving extra value to your customers. Building a strong social structure amongst your B2B partners will help increase business for all of you.
Attend industry networking events
Make sure you attend useful events for your travel business. Events will keep you up-to-date and aware of industry developments and trends. You will also find out what your competitors are doing and gain inspiration for how to develop your business in the future. You may even meet some prospective corporate clients too.
How to market your travel agency services
Take a long hard look at your website
Your website is the absolute heart of your sales and marketing efforts. How can you improve the experience for users and get your conversion rates up? Even if you think you’ve got it covered, the rate of tech development today means there will always be room for improvement.
If your site doesn’t look good on mobile devices or is slow to load, then you’ve got a problem even before people have read anything about your services. Google provides a free test to check the speed and performance of your website.
While on the subject of Google, it is vital that you keep your Google My Business profile up-to-date. This is now the primary place customers go to for information. Google attracts far more online reviews than TripAdvisor or Booking.com
Do everything in your power to drive more visitors to your website. Create fresh and surprising content that appeals to travelers and distribute it through social media and regular newsletters.
Once clients are on your site, convert them into sales leads. In order to collect their emails and phone numbers, consider what you can give them in return: special discounts, a free destination guide, or dining vouchers.
Luckily you can measure all of your online traffic, so keep an eye on which blog or social media post had the most success and which one didn’t and adjust your marketing accordingly.
Don’t forget traditional offline marketing
Prospective clients are literally everywhere. Whether you are visiting your dentist, hairdresser or your children’s’ school and the topic of holidays comes up, be sure to have your ‘elevator pitch’ ready i.e. a 30-second persuasive introduction to your business and your services.
Other winning ideas include taking a stand at trade shows and exhibitions and establishing a refer-a-friend scheme with your existing clients. You could also organize your own event and invite clients and local businesses.
How to advertise travel packages
Any successful advertising campaign requires time and research. You must first successfully identify and target your audience and then give them the right offer wrapped in the right creative approach. You should also consider switching to dynamic packaging as they tend to have a great impact on conversion.
Google PPC advertising
Google PPC refers to pay-per-click advertising via the Google Adwords platform. By leveraging pay-per-click on Google, you only pay for results. Your advertising budget pays for the clicks you receive to your website.
Google PPC can certainly succeed in getting your brand in front of people. But in the end, showing up on the search engine results page as an advert isn’t as effective as showing up in the organic results. The other drawback is that it’s relatively expensive.
Facebook and Instagram
Both of these platforms are rich in visual content and popular places for users to share their travel experiences so are likely to be important parts of your marketing strategy.
Both Instagram and Facebook use the same advertising tools. You can set up, run and track campaigns. You must first have a Facebook page to run ads and create a free business profile on Instagram.
Select your ad objective, audience and ad format. Or you can simply select a post that you’ve already shared and promote it. These social media platforms can automatically create an audience of people similar to your existing followers.
Offline advertising presents an opportunity for you to be creative. Apart from the obvious examples such as placing an ad in the local newspaper or tourist information brochure, consider teaming up with local businesses and putting your name, logo, contact details (plus a special offer or reward incentive) on coffee cups or food cartons. Aligning yourself with leisure venues where people are relaxing and perhaps thinking about their next holiday could have positive results for you.
Patricia holds degrees in; Advertising and Applied Communications, Tourism Management and a Master’s Degree in Economics for Development.
She has over ten years of experience in ON and OFF Marketing in big corporations, focusing on the latest years in the startup sector.