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Local heroes: hot tips for marketing success

Do you feel too busy for marketing these days? Or feel like you're not a natural-born marketer? You know marketing is vital to the long-term health of your business, but with the rise and rise of travel bookings, there seems little time to devote to crafting clever promotions. What can you do to ensure your efforts deliver maximum returns? We've got just the tips.

Do you feel too busy for marketing these days? Or feel like you’re not a natural-born marketer? You know marketing is vital to the long-term health of your business, but with the rise and rise of travel bookings, there seems little time to devote to crafting clever promotions. What can you do to ensure your efforts deliver maximum returns? We’ve got just the tips.

Marketing is crucial to your travel business. It’s how new clients can find you, old clients remember you’re their go-to person, and how you repeatedly prove yourself the expert. If you’re time-poor, however, what can you do to ensure your efforts hit the mark and give you maximum returns on your investments?

We’ve gathered one of the travel industry’s most respected marketing experts and a couple of agents who have enjoyed the sweet taste of success to ask them for a few top tips.

Keep it simple

Marketing
Robyn Mitchell, Director of Marketing at Travellers Choice.

When it comes to local marketing, the more straightforward a concept, the better its chances of success, says Travellers Choice Director of Marketing, Robyn Mitchell.

“The idea might be brilliant, but in any environment where people are short on time and resources, complex initiatives tend to end up in the ‘too hard’ basket.”

When the promotion involves a deal or competition, complexity can also create headaches for staff and frustrate customers, advises Naome Burdon from Argyle Travel and Cruise in South Australia.

“Your team don’t want to be double-checking if a deal or promo has met complex terms and conditions every time someone makes a booking,” Burdon says. “Plus, a simple and achievable promotion will always be more attractive to customers.”

Play the imitation game

marketing
Argyle Travel and Cruise’s Owner/Manager, Naome Burdon.

Mitchell also encourages agents to keep an eye open for smart promotions – from travel partners, competitors or companies outside the travel industry – and then tailor them to their own needs.

That’s what Burdon did when she saw a travel supplier offering a booking voucher as part of a Christmas message.

“I knew it would work for our customers, but it made more sense to turn it into a Happy New Year promotion,” says Burdon. “Not only is it a time when clients are not getting swamped with other promotions, but it’s traditionally one of our slowest booking periods.”

The promotion, which offered a $100 voucher on new bookings made before mid-February, helped her agency achieve its best January on record.

Ask an expert

marketing
A smashing success, thanks to a supportive network!

When Debra Gibb from Why Travel in Brisbane decided to put together an escorted tour to the United States this year to catch the NRL’s first-ever season-opening games in Las Vegas, she encountered some major pushback from the game’s administrators. Some quick thinking by the Travellers Choice marketing team connected her with another of the group’s members, who had extensive experience running sports tours.

“I was taking 30 customers to the opening NRL games and it was my first rodeo. While I know about footy, I had never hosted a tour built around an event,” says Gibb. “Working with the NRL was challenging, and I didn’t know how I was going to get tickets. A fellow member had encountered exactly the same issue, however, and thanks to their advice I was able to move forward.”

Ask for money

If you have a sure-fire business generating idea, but you’re lacking the financial resources to turn it into reality, don’t file it in a back drawer, says Mitchell. Instead, ask your consortia about tapping into supplier marketing funds.

“Travellers Choice’s preferred partners are often willing to support the targeted activities of our members, especially if the concept is novel or creative.

“We’ve helped secure funding for agents who might not be a top seller but who have growth potential,” she says. “So don’t hesitate if you’re not on a suppliers’ list of high-flyers.”

Keep it together

robyn travellers choice
“Just back yourself.” – Robyn Mitchell, Travellers Choice Director of Marketing.

One of the simple mistakes agents make, says Mitchell, is failing to coordinate a promotion across all of their communication channels.

“I often come across agents who are brilliant at marketing through their social channels, but they neglect to harness the value of their website or email marketing system. Social posts and emails can, for instance, take customers directly to a landing page where they can access rich content such as additional product details, multiple pricing options and a booking form.

“It’s a smart and efficient way of turning hot leads into bookings.”

Believe in yourself

Although most of you are exceptionally entrepreneurial and multi-talented, Mitchell says that when it comes to marketing, the biggest barrier many have to overcome is not a lack of time or talent… it’s a lack of confidence.

“My final piece of advice is this: just back yourself.”

Find out more here or contact the award-winning Travellers Choice team at admin@travellerschoice.com.au

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